A Christian Response To Illegal Immigration - Part 5
hfsclpp at gmail.com
Sat Jun 23 17:52:39 UTC 2007
A Christian Response To Illegal Immigration - Part
*This is the fifth article in the series "A Christian Response To Illegal
Third, we are exhorted to view the world around us in light of the spiritual
battle that is unfolding, ever aware of Kingdom dynamics, with an eye toward
what God is doing.
I realize that "enlightened" Westerners generally prefer to believe only
what they can see and prove by a scientific method. However, faith is not
scientific. While faith does not require disengaging our mind it does
require engaging our heart and subsequently taking a leap into the unknown
and unprovable (at least in this lifetime). If we are going to follow Jesus
we must accept his teaching by faith.
"Indeed, we live as human beings, but we do not wage war according to human
standards; for the weapons of our warfare are not merely human, but they
have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every
proud obstacle raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every
thought captive to obey Christ." (2 Corinthians 10.3-5 NRSV)
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on
the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles
of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh,
but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers
of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the
heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may
be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand
firm." (Ephesians 6.10-13 NRSV)
Part of being a Christian is learning to be sensitive to what God is doing
around us. We cannot see the spiritual realm with our eyes; we rely on
prayer and spiritual communion with the God of Hosts to receive our battle
I think God is allowing (if not orchestrating) this massive influx of people
into the United States from around the world. I believe God has a plan
unfolding that is much bigger than we often consider, much bigger than we
often give God credit for.
We have explored our Lord's commands that we love one another and associate
with the lowly. We have also explored our Lord's commands to prepare for
battle - spiritual battle. How does this all come together?
Rather than complaining about illegal immigrants in our cities perhaps
Christians should recognize this situation for the incredible ministry
opportunity that it is. We have spent decades sending missionaries from our
country to other countries at tremendous cost. God is now bringing the world
to our doorstep. Immigrants from nearly every country come to the United
States each year (legally or illegally) and too many Christians do nothing
but complain. Is it not amazing that God has coordinated this? Should we not
rather rejoice and give God praise for the wonderful opportunity he has
presented to us here in this country?
Consider the following action points:
- Instead of complaining about immigrants not learning English could
we not rather offer free English language classes at our church buildings?
Why complain without being willing to contribute to the solution? Offering
free English language classes is a very tangible way of showing love and
concern for the lowly and marginalized. This is also an incredible way to
build cross-cultural relationships with immigrants in our area. There are
mission agencies that use English language classes extensively as ministry
opportunities abroad. It is hard to imagine this ministry model could not be
adopted here at home.
- Instead of complaining about immigrants not learning English could
we not rather learn their language? Insisting that others come up to our
level is functionally a denial of the Gospel message. The Gospel is God
stooping to our level. Don't think for one minute that God could not have
found better languages than Hebrew or Greek to communicate in. God used the
language of the people he was reaching out to at the time. English is not so
special either. Preferring one another and serving one another will involve
reaching out to people where they are - not where we wish they were. This
action could also result in real relationships with real people, a
combination that translates into real opportunities to minister the love of
Christ to lost and dying people. That is good news in any language.
- Instead of shunning those who are different could we not rather
welcome them? Immigrants to a new country (particularly those who immigrated
illegally) are often lonely and afraid. Many left family and friends behind
in the search for a better life. People who are alone, isolated and
struggling with language barriers are easy targets for opportunistic
criminals and those who would exploit them. This same isolation creates real
opportunities for American Christians who are genuinely interested in
forming real relationships with people.
The question, "What would Jesus do?" has become so pathetically
commercialized in pop culture as to be almost meaningless anymore. The
argument has also been raised that, as we read the Bible, Jesus usually
surprised everyone around him because they did not know what he was going to
do. Nonetheless. the question is a valuable tool for those who truly attempt
to follow Jesus today.
What would Jesus do if he lived in America today? I think we can safely
conclude from his interactions with Samaritans, prostitutes, tax collectors,
and other "sinners" of his day what Jesus would do. Jesus would probably
tick off the whole church by seeking out the most marginalized and forgotten
in town. There is no question that this would include those who immigrated
If that is what Jesus would do, what will we do?
"Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are
messengers greater than the one who sent them." (John 13.16 NRSV)
You may have noticed that I completely avoided commenting on the ultimate
political solution regarding those who are already in this country
illegally. This omission was intentional. As followers of Jesus we have far
greater things to be concerned with. I suspect most of us could spend the
rest of our lives just working on loving those God puts in our lives.
I will limit myself to these comments:
- As followers of Jesus we need to start with truly loving and serving
those around us. This includes illegal immigrants. Only after we truly
embrace this should we even begin to consider what an appropriate national
policy might be.
- Any national policy we do support must be fair, equitable and just.
We dare not treat the alien among us poorly. God will judge us if we do.
- Any response must be rooted in love. Our response must never be
based on fear, greed (masked as economic justification), pride (masked as
patriotism) or any other vice that so often drives and consumes us.
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