Immigration, America and the Bible

As I try to always do when weighing my opinion about the latest news story, I went to the Bible to see what the Word of God says about immigration. That is how I do my best to maintain a Biblical worldview. Politicians and activists on both sides are offering up a “Biblical basis” for their beliefs. So what does the Bible say?

First of all, I am sensitive to the fact that America must be careful with this issue. We are, after all, a nation founded by immigrants. But I am also sensitive to the fact that without some sort of  laws regulating immigration, citizens of this country can be the ones that suffer. I wish I knew what the best approach to this was, but then I guess I’d be a politician or something and not just a working wife and mom that loves to read my Bible and write.

In the Old Testament, God wanted Israel (his chosen people) to be welcoming and kind to the strangers that lived among them. He repeatedly commanded them to be fair and not to oppress them. God wanted people that came to Israel with a desire to become a citizen (the Hebrew word that was translated as “stranger” or “sojourner” actually referred to someone that immigrated legally with the intention of becoming a citizen) to know the grace and mercy of the one true God. He also commanded that these visitors were to follow the same laws and religious customs as the Jewish citizens of the nation.  To apply this same requirement to America would be to acknowledge that America is God’s nation, set apart to lead people to the one true God of the Bible and by extension, to his one and only Son, Jesus Christ. Is that our calling as a nation? I think everyone would agree that it is not. It is certainly the churches calling, and the calling of those of us that are redeemed in Christ. But it is not the calling of our nation.

The same is true when we see Jesus’ commandment to love our neighbors (Matthew 22:39). Or when Paul reminds Christians to extend hospitality to strangers. (Romans 12:13) These commandments were given to individuals not to nations. The Bible does have some instruction for nations, but from what I can tell God is far more concerned about the actions of his people as individuals and as the body of Christ than those of the country they live in. After all, nations rise and fall and eventually Jesus will be ruler them all – but we were created for eternity and God is refining us for that day.

To me this means that the leaders of my country are responsible for implementing and enforcing laws that protect its citizens according to the Constitution under which it was formed. I will vote for people I think will do this fairly. And this also reminds me of a very important Biblical lesson. As a church, the body of Christ, we must do our part to be fair and kind to our neighbors, care for the needy that are not able to care for themselves and most importantly – share the gospel with them so that they can know the one true God and Jesus Christ, the Savior!

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” – ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭28:19‬

Who will not fear you, Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed. – Revelation‬ ‭15:4‬

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” – Revelation‬ ‭21:3-4‬ ‭

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