Tending to The Foreigner

Immigration is a polarizing issue in America; it has been a staple for most presidential debates and has been a game-changing factor in many political discussions across the country, some even seeping into the Church community. However, the issue is only progressing from here. Conversations have increased regarding how wealthy nations, specifically America, should handle and accept refugees from the war-infested nation of Syria.

Opinions on the issue are all over the map; many are for it, against it — some even in the middle about it. Political issues, especially immigration, are complex and complicated issues that people will always have an opinion on. While politics are filled with inconsistencies and faults, God’s Word isn’t. That is why it is up to us to go to God and His Word to truly find out where we should stand on some of these issues.

Surprisingly, immigration is discussed and implied in the Bible, both in the New and Old Testament. Quite often, actually. Below is a list of Scriptures and main points that touch on the issue of immigration and give us insight on how we should truly go about the situation as followers of Jesus:

Have Mercy on Your Neighbor

But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. Look after him,he said, and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have. ‘Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?’ The expert in the law replied, ‘The one who had mercy on him.’ Jesus told him, ‘Go and do likewise.’” { Luke 10:33-37 }

Notice how in this story, Jesus was teaching something basic - no matter who it is, we as His Children are to come to the aid of other people regardless of what we have to sacrifice or give up. I love how the Lord instructed the expert to “go and do likewise.” While walking past a lowly person and accepting in those from a separate nation are two totally different things, the basic principle is the same.

Welcome the Stranger

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” { Hebrews 13:2 }

When you go on and continue reading into verse 3, God encourages us to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes - “continue to remember those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.” What if it was you as the refugee? What if you were in desperate need of help with children and a family to provide for, yet you were rejected? Reaching out our hands to help others and opening our arms to those who are defenseless - is that not what Christ has done for us as our Savior?

Leaving Your Door Open

But no stranger had to spend the night in the street, for my door was always open to the traveler.” { Job 31:32, talking about his devotion to the Lord }

Oppressing the Foreigner

Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt.” { Exodus 23:9 }

The Old Testament is just as alive and active as it has ever been. Many like to deny that some of these “old laws” stated in the OT aren’t applicable to today’s world, but I totally disagree with this. Jesus Christ, who is the Word made flesh, is the same yesterday, today, and forever. It’s quite funny simply because we were once foreigners too. It is important to be reminded that superiority is not of any relevancy, because at one point or another we’ve been in the same boat, emotionally or physically.

He Loves the Foreigner

He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.” { Deuteronomy 10:18-19 }

God commands us to love one another with the relentless love He has extended to us. It is our responsibility to be the Christ that people don’t see every day. God is always waiting with open arms for those who draw near to Him. We are to do the same with our fellow man.

Love the Refugees as Yourself

For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: Love your neighbor as yourself." { Galatians 5:14 }

When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt.” { Leviticus 19:33-34 }

Many may accuse me of being too “prosperity” with this next statement but I don’t believe God is a God rejection towards people. His arms are always stretched out wide, ready to accept all who come to Him.

These verses, I pray, are ones that will provoke the thoughts of those who have been curious about the issue for some time.

I was sitting alone one night watching the news and the Lord laid something totally mind boggling on my heart : A man and a woman had to make the decision to flee or stay in the midst of danger. They traveled for miles in search of a place of refuge until they reached the safety of Egypt. The decision was not truly made for themselves, but their baby boy: Jesus was a refugee! As a church, we need to stop figuring out why and if we should take care of these people and start wondering how we can care for them best. Our own Savior had to FLEE for safety. If He came to your home, town, or country, how would you embrace Him?

Christian Evangelist Franklin Graham was discussing the issue and wrote on his Facebook page, “The Lord Jesus Christ sympathizes with these refugees-can you imagine what it would be like to have to flee your home with only what you could carry?”

I have always felt like the teachings of Jesus are radical. He wants us to live in a way that is totally different than what people know and expect. People will say “it’s not that easy to just accept refugees” and “it’s not that simple.” Well - Jesus never said being obedient to His teachings would be easy or simple. Yes - it is a radical way of living, but we are called to “come out of them and be separate” (2 Cor. 6:17); stand out from the world and be like Jesus. Christ surely had a way of standing out, not to draw attention to Himself, but to simply do the right thing and share truth with all of mankind.