All it takes is one glance at any of the news sites to know that our system doesn’t work and our policies need to change in regard to immigration.
My heart aches at the images of children being separated from their parents. I look at them and see my own little girl, who still clings to me when I drop her off at daycare. I can only imagine the fear and panic she would experience if she was forcibly taken away from us.
My heart breaks, but the rest of me is furious.
There is no excuse for officials using scripture to justify the “zero tolerance” policies; in fact, it’s a violation of the very spirit of the Gospel. This policy is cruel and inhumane, stripping children and their parents of their worth, dignity, and inherent value. When I say inherent, I mean ingrained or inborn. Every parent and child and human was made in God’s image and likeness (Genesis 1:26), which means that they are children of God and inherently valued by Him. When we fail to protect the vulnerable, we fail to uphold the Gospel.
Paul reminds us that, “There should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it” (1 Corinthians 12:25-26).
As a Christian, you may or may not feel called to speak out about political issues, but we are absolutely called to speak out about the Gospel, especially when it is being misrepresented.
Romans 13 is often invoked in discussions about submitting to governing authorities, but it continues on to say that that authority is meant to be exercised for the good of all people (Romans 13:2) and that whoever loves others has fulfilled the law (Romans 13:8).
Even in Isaiah we are told, “Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless.” – Isaiah 10:1-2
Here are seven verses that further clarify the ministry that the church is called to:
- When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God. – Leviticus 19:33-34
- This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.’ – Zechariah 7:9-10
- Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. – Psalm 82:3-4
- He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt. – Deuteronomy 10:18-19
- This is what the Lord says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place. – Jeremiah 22:3
- Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. – Hebrews 13:3
- Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy. – Proverbs 31:8-9
Immigration policy is complicated, but that doesn’t mean nothing can be done now. I realize that slinging opinions around isn’t an effective way to initiate action, so here are four easy steps you can take to engage and join the conversation:
We are called to be persistent in prayer in every situation. Lift up those in authority and pray that they will humble themselves before the Lord. Pray for those who are suffering, as though you were in their position.
Publicly support legislation that will maintain the rights of all migrants in the United States and provide opportunities for them to attain legal status. Go to your local churches and ask them to take a stand. Initiate conversations with your peers and encourage them to be vocal as well.
Condemn the current policy, as well as the xenophobic reactions currently directed at migrants. Condemn the separation of families. Don’t remain silent or passive just because you aren’t directly affected.
Speak up. This is one of the best articles I’ve read with a step-by-step guide (including scripts and resources) on how to implore leaders in Washington to take action with legislation that will protect these families.