Facing Issues That Divide: Immigrants and the Bible

We are a nation divided. As Christians, we don’t have to agree with each other, but we do need to listen, respond with respect, and act as Jesus did, with love. This is the second in a five-part blog series looking at hot-button issues that divide us. I’ll introduce one issue per week on this blog, give you some initial thoughts, and then invite you to dive deeper by linking to Scripture and a recent sermon at the website of the church I serve. If you’d like to explore the issues in a group setting, you can download a free leader guide to the series. Today’s issue is immigration reform. There’s a second, related issue regarding refugees from Muslim countries, which we’ll talk about next week when we discuss radical Islam. Today we’ll discuss immigration reform, particularly as it relates to what should be done concerning the undocumented immigrants in America. Here are some thoughts to get you started: A recent National Public Radio report noted, “Immigration is shaping up to be one of the most contentious and emotional topics in the 2016 presidential race.”   All Americans are descended from immigrants—from Siberia in the Ice Age, from Europe as Pilgrims, from Africa during the slave trade, from Ireland in the mid-1800s, from China during the late 1800s. A plaque on the Statue of Liberty reads: Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door! The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 banned racial criteria for immigation. From that time on, people would be admitted “on the basis of their skills and their relationship to those already here” and to find refuge from oppression.   There are approximately 11.3 million persons in the U.S. today without authorization—without some kind of Visa or Green Card. Of these, roughly half came here on a Visa or Green Card that has now expired, and half came into our country by crossing the border without authorization. The Bible has many references to immigrants—in fact, foreigners, strangers, and aliens are mentioned more than 150 times.  In Leviticus, God says: “When immigrants live in your land with you, you must not cheat them. Any immigrant who lives with you must be treated as if they were one of your citizens. You must love them as yourself, because you were immigrants in the land of Egypt” (Leviticus 19:33-34 CEB). Ready to dive deeper? Click here to see my sermon series “Facing Issues That Divide,” then select today’s sermon, “Immigrants and the Bible.” Want to discuss these topics in a group? Click the link below or here for a free downloadable leader guide.

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