OK, the pic of Trump signing the executive order limiting immigration got your attention. Good. But please don’t view this as a political post, because it examines a foundational principle that undergirds how we stand on a variety of issues, immigration included. And I won’t apologize for deleting any comments on the blog or Facebook that veer onto the political. This topic has too much spiritual importance to become a political weapon, in either direction. So for this blog, I care little what position you take on legal/illegal immigration and refugees. I merely ask that you evaluate this post on one ground and one result—first is it biblical; second will you apply the principle to every stand you take, including immigration? I care far less what conclusion you reach as I care that you carefully and prayerfully ponder that.
With that said, let’s get to it. And this may contain much more scripture than most posts, to show the importance.
1. God loves all and wants all. From the beginning, God cares for all people on earth, and gave Abram that promise, “all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:3). All peoples, be sure to get that. Paul affirmed that as well, “From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him” (Acts 17:26-27).
Notice that he cares for all nations—they spring from his creation. And his goal for us—that we have a relationship with him. Take a moment and read Jonah, with principles more frightening then being swallowed whole by a great fish. God sent Jonah to evil Nineveh to call them to repent. Why? He cared about them. Do you know what nation now includes that area? Iraq.
One more, the famous “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Can we followers of Jesus have any doubt that God loves and cares for and wants all people to know him? God views all as equally important. He has no favored race or nation, as mentioned above. He sees all people in need of him.
2. God wants us to love all and want all. “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers… Anyone who does not love remains in death. This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?” (1 John 3:14, 16-17). The validity of our faith demonstrates itself by the caliber of how we love others and how we serve their needs. God says if we love one, him, then we love all. Pretty clear, isn’t it? I almost hate these verses; they eliminate most of my excuses.
3. But don’t be stupid. Knowing the vulnerabilities of trust, Jesus was cautious when some early followers were attracted by his miracles, “But Jesus didn’t trust them, because he knew human nature” (John 2:24, NLT). Let’s not be blind and ignore reality. Not all relationships are healthy, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18). Paul once more shows tough love in helping others “For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: ‘If a man will not work, he shall not eat’” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). Or, people must take the basic responsibility for their lives. Yes, we help, when we help wisely. But we don’t make ourselves needlessly vulnerable.
So what does this mean to you for refugees? I have no idea. Except. That we need to approach the issue with a genuine love where we want God’s best for them and do what we can. Just like we approach the surly and slow waiter. The vengeful ex. The sabotaging co-worker. The…
Kick Starting the Application
Don’t think about others right now, just look within your heart. Can you find areas that you struggle to wisely love some people? What makes it difficult to love them? Previous hurts? Potential hurts? Do you deeply accept the truth that God loves them as much as he loves you? What can you do this week to expand your circle of love? How can you apply this principle more consistently in your life?