We see and read much about genuine humanitarian refugees of all ages from breastfed babies to the elderly (including the seriously disabled - amputees, wheelchairs), arriving en masse from Africa and the Middle East into many parts of Europe, into cold, unsanitary conditions, uninvited and unwanted.
They are variously fleeing dictatorship and violence, corruption and injustice, oppression and poverty, in large measure probably due to a succession of selfish abdication of caring, mature leadership resulting in forced mass-migration. The world has seen the social and cultural problems this brings.
For their part, it is both understandable and reasonable for Europeans to want to preserve their national identity, lifestyle and culture from being diluted (in some cases, swamped) by what they experience as an unwanted invasion of people so very different from themselves.
We didn't do it
Modern-day Europeans, as with modern-day Americans and Aussies, cannot be held accountable and are not somehow vicariously liable for, the grievous mistakes of our forefathers, noting the obvious that we cannot re-write history.
Nevertheless, Europeans (and thinkers generally) ponder this human dilemma unfolding in Europe where the innocent aren't allowed to go forward and can't or don't want to go back. One can't help but wonder whether the seeds of this reaping have been sown many decades before.
Are today's descendants of 'past-decades-plunderers' now being plundered by the descendants of 'past-decades-plunded'?
Are the long-term consequences of accumulated poverty, economic and social injustice, and the physical harshness and brutality of earlier times (no doubt uninvited and unwanted) imposed on quietly innocent and externally peaceful local populations by colonial England, France, Belgium, Germany and Holland during enforced reigns, now 'coming home to bite them'/being reaped in Europe?
Colonial Australia and colonial America were not innocent here. Were they also plunderers who brought with them in their saddlebags and rifles, the same mindset?
At long last it may be that us white Australians are on the cusp of commencing a controversial and painful social conversation about whether Australia was in fact 'settled' or 'invaded', noting that white man's history has always been written by white men looking through white eyes.
God has something to say
A man reaps what he sows. (Galatians chapter 6 verse 7: the 'old' unaltered NIV). This divine statement applies to both the spiritual and physical dimensions. It is instructive to note the sources from which that reaping comes.
The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. (Galatians chapter 6 verse 8).
A question of timing and history
Does the reaping always happen in the same lifetime as the sowing? Or can one generation selfishly sow the seeds of disruption and injustice to be reaped by later generations as a dreadful legacy? History sometimes shouts at us here.
Good spiritual reaping to eternal life often happens in this delayed, staged way. Jesus says: One sows and another reaps...I sent you to reap what you have not worked for...you have reaped the benefits of their labour. (John chapter 4 verses 37 & 38).
Moses sent men to explore the land of Canaan which God was giving to the Israelites. The majority of the spies from the ancestral tribes unwarrantedly brought back a "bad report" which unsettled the people.
Having thus explored for forty days, God said to them: Your children will be shepherds here for forty years, suffering for your unfaithfulness, until the last of your bodies lies in the desert. (Numbers chapter 14 verse 33).
Those who plow evil and...sow trouble, reap it. (Job chapter 4 verse 8).
In view of what may have been national sowing and subsequent reaping, maybe the experience of modern-day Europe should serve as a parable to parents. We need to be careful about what legacy or mindset may flow from our thoughts, actions, and words that we leave to or inflict upon our innocent children, including atheistic godless views with which they may be burdened into later life.
For Plato said: The direction in which education starts a man will determine his future life.
A question of direction?
Can a nation sow in one direction e.g. in Africa and subsequently reap from another direction e.g. the Middle East? Sowing here and reaping there? It seems clear that the answer is 'yes' but a just and fair outcome may not always result.
World history and the broad brush
God paints the broad sweep of world history with a broad brush and the cameos of peoples' lives with a necessarily fine brush.
Unfortunately, because all of us are part of the same 'human condition', the cameos of individual innocent lives can get caught-up in the not-so-innocent broader sweep of national events.
The just and the unjust in cameo
A puzzled King Solomon had seen: a righteous man perishing in his righteousness, and a wicked man living long in his wickedness. It troubled him that: righteous men [may] get what the wicked deserve, and wicked men [may] get what the righteous deserve. (Ecclesiastes chapter 7 verse 15 & chapter 8 v 14).
When God said a man reaps what he sows, this was still mainly referring to the same man doing the sowing and then experiencing the reaping, whether good or bad.
Within Europe's current experience there is innocence and evil, good and bad, past and present sowing and reaping.
The Chinese have an interesting saying: 'may you live in interesting times', which can be a blessing or a curse. It is always preferable to live in God-blessed good interesting times!
Gavin Lawrie is a retired Barrister and Solicitor from Tweed Heads NSW and author of the book 'THE EVIDENCE OF EVOLUTION: Uncovering The Faulty Science Of Dawkins' Attack On Creationism." He is married to Jan with two adult children and they are grand parents.
Gavin Lawrie's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/gavin-lawrie.html