What God Says about Immigration
The news is full of stories about the thorny question of immigration. Here in North America, in Europe and many other nations, political leaders are wrestling with this issue. Due to conflict, oppression, or economic deprivation in other nations, many people are fleeing. They are seeking safe havens for themselves and their families. So what should a nation consider in establishing a fair, compassionate, and wise immigration policy — one that serves the country’s citizens and the potential refugees or immigrants. There are those who advocate opening the floodgates. Others want to put up barriers to limit or control access. So what was God’s advice? Are we willing to listen to what God says about immigration?
Instructions to a Model Nation
God brought the Israelites out of the bondage of Egyptian slavery and into their own land. Why? His goal was to establish a model nation. This nation would be built on the principles, laws, statutes found in the torah — God’s teaching for nations and individuals. God knew the plight of those in other nations who would want to enter Israel. And he loves the stranger. So, he provided guidelines for the equitable treatment of “strangers and foreigners.” But God’s first priority was in maintaining the integrity of the nation, its values and cultural heritage. The nation was to remain unchanged, firmly founded on it’s original constitution as a teaching example to the rest of humanity. So the policy was not, “Y’all come,” nor was it, “You cannot pass!”
Compassion with Equity
God wanted his people to welcome the stranger, to support the fatherless, and encourage the widows. To this end, his first guiding rule was ‘ one law for all.’
The foundational principles of that law were love for God and love for neighbour. There was no ‘multiculturalism.’ There was no confusion about who God was and his expectations. He had detailed instructions on how to love your neighbour. God had deliberate and very specific commands on how to worship him. He expected everyone in the nation to comply with his standards, the citizen and the immigrant. Imagine how different national immigration policy would be if our nations considered what God says about immigration.
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