“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus, himself, as the chief cornerstone.” (Ephesians 2:19-20)
This article is not intended to be political, although I imagine some readers will look at it as such. I have just watched a news report narrated by the son of a former student of mine, Shannon Biggs Cosgray. Her son, Drew, is currently working with a News Channel in El Paso, Texas
During this report, excellently done by this novice reporter, scenes of immigrants living on the streets of El Paso and interviews with these people presented a clear picture and understanding of what these “illegals” have lived in the past and what they are currently facing.
All of those interviewed indicated that they don’t mind living on the streets of El Paso, for the prospect of a brighter future surpasses the life they had been living in Venezuela. Homelessness is better than their previous living conditions. I don’t think we Americans can even imagine such conditions.
When I researched what the Bible has to say about strangers or immigrants, I was surprised to find that over 100 verses spoke to this topic. I read them and found that none of the scriptures said to send them back; don’t help them; separate families from each other or put them in cages.
I understand that I do not totally understand the entire impact of the immigration situation; I am too compassionate, I suppose, and I always lean to the optimistic side that believes that these people will be assimilated into our society.
Having worked with young people in these situations during the years I worked as a high school counselor, I met undocumented families. The parents that I encountered were industrious, positive, individuals. Many lived with relatives until they could establish their own residences.
Most immigrants from our southern neighbors are very industrious and often take jobs that are less desirable and often jobs that are lower-paying jobs that home-grown Americans would not consider.
I think of God in heaven looking upon the big blue ball we call earth. He sees human beings that He loves and wishes that all would become followers of Jesus Christ. No borders exist in His perspective. He sees humanity and desires justice for all. Of the hundreds of verses about immigrants, I have chosen three to share God’s perspective.
“The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt; I AM, the Lord your God.” (Leviticus 19:34) Yes, Old Testament, and it says to me that from early on God expected His people to love their neighbors.
“Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.” (Romans 12:13)
Jesus explains the final judgment given to encourage believers to be faithful and obedient. To the “goats” on His right, He says, “I was hungry, and you gave me nothing to eat; . . . I was a stranger, and you did not take me in.” (Matthew 25:42-43) To find out what happens to the “goats” read Matthew 25:31-46.
Dear God, in our country, great controversy about immigrants and especially undocumented individuals exists. People ask, “Why don’t they just apply for legal entrance into our country?” Most are fleeing intolerable situations and the process for legalization is long and challenging. They seek refuge. Help us, as followers of Jesus, do what we can to love our neighbors In Christ’s name. Amen.
Jerry is just an ordinary Jesus follower who is blessed to receive guidance from the Holy Spirit in writing these articles. He is also a retired high school counselor who has learned many lessons from his students and friends through the years. Jerry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.