I want to share a sneak peak of the new book, Intentional Christian, with you because I think it’s really important for the times in which we live. I don’t have all of the information about what our government is doing, so this is not intended as a critical comment of decisions that have been made. The issues of Immigration and refugees are two tough and complicated policy decisions. I’m not the expert. But there’s one thing I know for sure: “God’s compassion for the stranger and foreigner—should inform the way we approach the issues of immigration and refugees.” One thing you should know before you read the next few paragraphs is this: the point of the book is to help people who are searching for God’s will for their lives.
The following section comes from Chapter 8: A Common Calling to Live Intentionally.
“I need to confess something to you. If I’m honest, I’ve spent very little time caring for the three groups of people that God talks about the most. If you do a quick search for verses in the Bible about “orphans” or “the fatherless,” “widows,” and “foreigners,” you will find a long list of references. Many of the references are verses in which God mentions all three groups together. Evidently, God specifically cares about those who are MOST vulnerable.
“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)
“The Lord protects the strangers; He supports the fatherless and the widow, But He thwarts the way of the wicked.” (Psalm 146:9)
There are many more, but these two passages give us a feel for God’s love and compassion for those who are especially vulnerable. What’s more, if you search for these groups in the Bible, you will also find several references that call us to join God in His work of defending the defenseless.
“Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow.” (Isaiah 1:17)
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:27)
I don’t think it’s necessary to point out any more verses. I think we get the picture: God cares about the vulnerable, and He wants us to care about them too. But this won’t be easy—especially when we live in a political climate that is so divided over issues of foreigners and strangers—i.e. immigrants.
If you and I take to heart what God is saying here, and if we attempt to intentionally live out what God is calling us to do—we are going to be unpopular with some of the people in our families. Some of our friends may not agree with us, and they may stop being our friends because of this. I’m referring to two groups of strangers—immigrants from the south and immigrants from the Middle East. Don’t you think that what we are reading in these passages—God’s compassion for the stranger and foreigner—should inform the way we approach the issues of immigration and refugees? Shouldn’t it impact our perspective on Muslims, Mexicans, and people from other nations–especially those who are already here? I don’t want to get into an argument about open borders versus closed borders—that’s not what this is about. But I think we can all agree—regardless of what side you’re on—that God wants us to take care of the strangers among us.
Not only do we need to take care of the foreigners among us, but we also need to care for those who are weak, oppressed, and seeking safety. If there are groups of people who need help—even if they are from the Middle East—than we need to help them. I wish we had a choice—I wish we could pick and choose who God cares about—but we asked the question. We asked God to show us His calling and will for our lives, and God seems to be pretty clear on this particular point—“Do not mistreat them . . . love them” [the foreigner who resides among you in your land] (Leviticus 19:33-34); provide food for them (Leviticus 19:9-10); do not oppress them (Exodus 23:9); do not deprive them of justice (Malachi 3:5); and invite them [the stranger] in (Matthew 25:25–). Did you see that last one? We are supposed to INVITE them in. Wow!
Again, please do not take this as support for any particular political party. Although in the past I was tied to a party, I’m not anymore. I don’t think a biblical perspective on issues like immigration lends itself to only aligning ourselves with any one group of people. All I want to point out is that although we can avoid political arguments on these issues, we can’t avoid a very clear common calling to take care of the vulnerable—especially foreigners.”