Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Strangers and Aliens

This is one of those posts that could stir up a whole hornet's nest. I don't have answers...but I have a gnawing in my gut that won't go away...so here is my train of thought. Follow at your own risk.

Throughout Scripture, we are commanded to care for the orphan and widow. Okay...I've got that one. I have a passion and heart for orphans, and I definitely see the need to care for widows, single moms...I think our church is starting to really reach out to these groups.

But Scripture is also clear to care for the alien, or stranger. Ruth was a Moabitess who came with Naomi back to Bethlehem. She was an outsider. Yet Boaz, an influential man, took her in, married her, and together they had a family that included Christ Himself many generations later.

Many conservative Christians today are downright angry about the immigration situation in our country. And I get it. I really do. I am conservative myself to the core. It's easy to spout opinions about immigration, legal and illegal. And the "America First" mentality is also easy to understand. We're proud of our country, after all. And we work hard to provide for our families. And we obey the laws of the land...

You know, when we went through Immigration for our adoption of Dayna, we saw a beautiful young Mexican bride trying to go through the correct channels to become an American citizen. The poor girl was confused and didn't have a marriage certificate to show her new name. The Immigration officer was screaming at her and berating her; a little compassion would have cleared up the confusion, and the young girl could have returned with the necessary document. Instead, this poor frightened girl was trying to do the right thing and being horribly mistreated by an agent of the country she was trying to enter.

So I get that the Bible says to take care of strangers and aliens, and I get that the Bible says to obey the laws of the land. So logically, that means take care of the strangers who come here through the correct channels.

But life isn't always logical. I think back to WWII when thousands of Jewish people were trying to escape Nazi Germany, but no country would take them in...all the immigration quotas were filled. When the letter of the law was followed, people died.

I think of some of the dear students I teach who have come straight from refugee camps. Children whose families have come to America to escape horrendous situations, or who come here to try to climb out of the pit of poverty. I look into these faces and teach them because I love them. I don't ask if their families are here legally or not. It doesn't matter to me why they are here...I just know that for whatever reason, God has allowed them to be in one of my classes for a brief moment in time, and I need to love them in His name.

I don't know that it's my place to ask why people are coming to America. Yes...a great many are looking for a handout. But...aren't there a lot of Americans who are using the system as well? On the other hand, how many are coming here just trying to survive?

There are no easy answers to the immigration dilemma. But I also think that there needs to be more compassion...after all, what would Jesus do?

1 comment:

Paula said...


Conservative to the core... but also with you all the way on this one. WWJD is exactly right and it sure isn't humiliate and deport. Compassion. Compassion. Compassion.