The Danger of Putting America before God

09-06 - daca

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:

  1. Love the Lord your God with all heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.
  2. 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:

  1. 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)
  2. “Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt. (Exodus 23:9)
  3. 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)
  4. 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)
  5. You are to have the same law for the foreigner and the native-born. I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 24:22)
  6. 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)
  7. 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)
  8. Do not deprive the foreigner or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge. (Deuteronomy 24:17)
  9. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, (Ephesians 2:19)
  10. 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)
  11. 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 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.


Vivir el Dream


Vivir el Dream FB cover

Hello, everyone,

In case you hadn’t realized, I wrote a book and published it on May 19th! It is called Vivir el Dream and is a Latino Christian fiction book about an undocumented college student trying to make her way in the world.

You can find it on Amazon for $16.99 in paperback, $3.99 in ebook. Also signed copies are available for $15 (plus $3 shipping if you’re not local).

I was inspired by my friends, family, church family, and community who haven’t given up even when they’ve been through unimaginably difficult circumstances. I wanted to give a glimpse into the life of undocumented people in the U.S.: why they come here, what they have to go through to get here, and what things are like for them once they arrive.

It is also rich with descriptions of authentic Mexican cuisine and culture and has elements of inspiration, light romance, and humor.

You can also find out more information on my Facebook author page and on the Facebook book page.

Here’s a little more about the book:

The fates of an undocumented college student and her mother intertwine with a suicidal businessman’s. As circumstances worsen, will their faith carry them through or will their fears drag them down?

Linda Palacios crossed the border at age three with her mother, Juanita, to escape their traumatic life in Mexico and to pursue the American dream. Years later, Linda nears college graduation. With little hope for the future as an undocumented immigrant, Linda wonders where her life is going.


Tim Draker, a long-unemployed businessman, has wondered the same thing. Overcome with despair, he decides to take his own life. Before he can carry out his plan, he changes course when he finds a job as a mechanic. Embarrassed about working at a garage in the barrio, he lies to his wife in hopes of finding something better.


After Juanita’s coworker gets deported, she takes in her friend’s son, Hector, whom her daughter Linda can’t stand, While Juanita deals with nightmares of her traumatic past, she loses her job and decides to go into business for herself.


Will the three of them allow God to guide them through the challenges to come, or will they let their own desires and goals get in the way of His path?

Love Thy Neighbor…

There’s been a lot of controversy lately about marriage equality. It saddens me to see people spewing hate, especially when they are Christians. God called us not to judge, but to love. When they asked Jesus in Matthew 22:36-40, “Teacher, what is the greatest commandment?” He replied, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it. ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the law and prophets hang on these two commandments.” So if the second commandment to love your neighbor is like the first, we should love our neighbors with all our hearts and with all our souls and with all our minds.

Recently in Sunday school, we read the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37, and I noticed something I hadn’t paid attention to before. In the beginning of the passage, an expert in the law asks Jesus what he needs to do to inherit eternal life. When Jesus asks him what the law says about it, the man replies with the two commandments to love God and love your neighbor. Jesus says that’s a good response, and then this is what stuck out to me. “But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?'” Jesus, of course, replies with the story of the Good Samaritan, which shows Jews not helping an injured one of their own on the road and then a Samaritan (known for not at all getting along with the Jewish people) comes and helps the injured man. When Jesus asks the man who was a neighbor to the injured man, the man says, “The one who had mercy on him.”

I think this is where we’re getting it wrong. Sometimes, instead of loving someone and having mercy on them, we try to justify ourselves, thinking, “I can’t love him because he’s different than me,” or “I cant love her because she’s doing something against my beliefs,” or “I can’t love them, they are living in sin.”

Since we have Jesus as an example, it’s always best to look to Him for answers. Whom did He love? Did He only love those like Him? Did He only love those who were blameless or who He viewed as pure in His eyes? No, He saw everyone as they were, as we all are, as flawed, imperfect people, and He love them all the same. He spent His time with the “rejects” of society. He ate dinner with sinners, prostitutes, and tax collectors. He touched the leper, He approached the demon-possessed man, and He hugged the children.

I think the question is not “Whom shall I love?” because Jesus shows us we are to love everyone. The question is how should we love. Again I say we can look to Jesus for the answer. He sat and ate with people, spoke with them, listened to their struggles, and made a difference in their lives.

Don’t let your hearts be hardened by hate or judgment. Judgment is for the Lord, not for us. Remember what Jesus says in John 8:7, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” No one did. Jesus also said in Matthew 7:3, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plan in your own eye?” Judging others and hating others and purposefully not loving them is breaking both of the two greatest commandments. By not loving others, you are going against the will of God.

Love a little more. And, remember, no matter what, we are all the same. We are children of God, created for a purpose. And, above all, that purpose is to love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves with all our hearts and with all our souls and with all our minds.

Here is how I showed my love for my cousin, JC, last summer by going with him to the Gay Pride Parade in NYC. I love you, JC!