I haven’t blogged in a while but considering recent events, I thought I should come out of hiding. As many of you know, I’ve written a Christian fiction book, Vivir el Dream, about undocumented immigrants trying to live “the American dream.” With the recent end of DACA (Deferred Action for Child Arrivals), which used to be known as “The Dream Act,” I have seen a lot of hurtful posts about “illegals” and “criminals” and “getting what they deserve” etc. Seeing that kind of hate, always brings me back to the Bible and remembering what Jesus said in Mark 12:30-31 were the most important commandments:
- Love the Lord your God with all heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.
- Love your neighbor as yourself.
Considering this, I think about immigration and what that means in terms of loving God and loving our neighbors. Here are some verses that stick out to me:
- Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. (1 John 4:20)
- “Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt. (Exodus 23:9)
- Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 19:10)
- The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 19:34)
- You are to have the same law for the foreigner and the native-born. I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 24:22)
- The community is to have the same rules for you and for the foreigner residing among you; this is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. You and the foreigner shall be the same before the Lord (Numbers 15:15)
- He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. (Deuteronomy 10:18)
- Do not deprive the foreigner or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge. (Deuteronomy 24:17)
- Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, (Ephesians 2:19)
- I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me. (Matthew 25:43)
- 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)
I found all these verses easily on biblegateway.com by searching for the keywords foreigner and stranger. Sure, there were other verses that contextually spoke about foreigners overtaking things (generally in the context of the Israelites), but the majority were about treating them fairly.
Now, people are going to say, “What about all the verses about following laws?” And I agree, it is important to follow the laws. But, do are the laws of a country above the laws of God? Those very laws that tell us to love our God and our neighbor? No. It calls us to stand up against the laws that do harm and injustice.
The main issue is that Americans are so used to feeling comfortable with what we have, we forget that God doesn’t want us to be comfortable, He wants us to love. We as Americans can more easily place blame on someone rather than looking at the Greater Law that God put forth, the law to love God and our neighbors (which, by the way, means anybody – no exceptions!) And there’s a verse about that, too, in Luke 10:25-37 when Jesus shares the parable of the Good Samaritan. The final result:
Jesus asks: “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 10:35-37)
Nowhere I am aware of (and feel free to correct me) in the Bible does it talk about pieces of paper and setting borders to keep people out and to deny help to those who need it, to turn people away because they are different or immigrated one way instead of the other. No, those are our laws we made up to keep control, to keep comfortable.
But that isn’t God’s law. God’s law is love. Love, kindness, mercy.
Go and do likewise.