The Thinking Christian

Lately, when confronted with the opinions of my fellow Christians, I ask myself, "What were they thinking?" Truth is, I wonder if they've really thought through the opinions they put forth. In this blog I will attempt to provoke thought on some current issues. My thoughts might not mirror the popular view, but I hope they will help others consider the question, "What would Jesus think?"

Sunday, August 19, 2007

From Up There, There are No Boundaries

Once upon a time, a woman who lived south of the border fell in love with a man who lived north of the border. She packed much of what she owned in her ancient, run-down vehicle and took her child and her two cats over the border so she could be together with the man she loved. And so she became an illegal alien in a land where she didn’t speak the language….

What feelings does the above story evoke in you? Disgust? Resentment? Impatience? Outrage? Despair over the unrelenting issue of illegal immigration? Or can you muster any compassion for that woman as she feels lost in a place where not one single sign she sees is written in her language and no clerks in the store can understand her? Have you any understanding for her plight? After all, she just wanted to be with the man she loved and to enjoy being a family with him.

I ask because I was that woman. When I married Thomas in Quebec, north of the border, I became an illegal immigrant for three years until he could get his green card and we could return to the United States.

As a world traveler and former illegal alien married to an immigrant to the United States, I have a different perspective on the issue of immigration, whether legal or otherwise. I have great compassion and sympathy for those among us who are from other lands. Because of these feelings, I have grown heartsick over the increased hostility and even racism toward immigrants that I see displayed by my Christian brothers and sisters.

What does God say about the aliens in our lands? Does he support our exclusion and separatism? What should the Christian’s attitude be toward aliens, immigrants, and strangers in the United States? I do not look to politics for the answers. I look to the Word of God. Do you spend time reading what the newspapers have to say about the subject? I implore you to take the time to look at what God has to say. Here’s what the Bible says:

Exodus 22:21
"Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in Egypt. (And unless you are Native American, your ancestors were once aliens in this land as well.)

Exodus 23:9
"Do not oppress an alien; you yourselves know how it feels to be aliens, because you were aliens in Egypt.

Leviticus 19:33
" 'When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him.

Leviticus 19:34
The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.

Leviticus 25:35
" 'If one of your countrymen becomes poor and is unable to support himself among you, help him as you would an alien or a temporary resident, so he can continue to live among you. (This says that they financially supported the aliens)

Deuteronomy 10:18
He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing.

Deuteronomy 10:19
And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt.

Okay, you say, but this is Old Testament Jewish stuff. What does Jesus have to say on the subject?

The Sheep and the Goats

31"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger (same word as alien) and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

44"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

45"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

46"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

In the musical “Camelot,” Merlin the wizard changes the young Arthur into a hawk and sends him flying above the earth. “What did you learn as a hawk that you did not know as a man, Wart?” the old magician asks when the boy returns to earth. “I could see no boundaries,” Arthur answered.

When God looks down on earth from Heaven, what does he see? These days we don’t need to be changed into hawks to see it. Look at any satellite photo of the earth and you will see it as God does. There are no lines, no demarcations. Only the one planet God created to house His people. I do not see borders in this world that God gave us. I like to see the world from His viewpoint and from up there, there are no boundaries.


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