“When Were You A Stranger”

I have stronger feelings than I’d like to admit about this one. I’m a little too close to the issue. I know too many loved ones, friends and former students who are recipients of the DACA program and through it, have been able attend higher education and/or provide for themselves and their families. I’m around too many people whose lives would be entirely upended with the loss of a work permit and are spending today feeling confused, betrayed and afraid of what is to come.

To help understand how a DREAMer might feel today, here’s some context. In the early part of this decade and since the introduction of DACA, undocumented immigrants have come forward in good faith with the promise that their trust in our government would not be used by ICE as a weapon against them. Now, there is an announcement of the end of DACA with no information about the future prospects after expiration. There are no assurances that their trust will be met with protection and their security is pulled out from underneath them.

I don’t want to get into the politics and details of this. I don’t want to discuss all of the stats and numbers. I didn’t make this post to debate policies and pick sides. It was created because I hope to address hearts and hopefully convey biblical values in the midst of rhetoric and politics.

I’m not even trying to make an argument that accepting the stranger, whether DREAMERS, refugees or Muslims is better for our country or not. I’ve seen arguments about GDP impact, unemployment, tax issues, security, etc. What I’m suggesting is that the Bible encourages us to welcome the stranger and give to the needy.

I’ve seen numbers on both sides in support of and in contradiction to the effect of immigrants on the national economy and security. My point here is this: even if it came at a cost, should we as Christians be averse to it? I think we’re foolish to think that we can give to other’s without cost to ourselves. But isn’t a self-sacrificing generosity our calling? Wasn’t it the example set for us?

Matthew 5:38-48
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic,[h] let him have your cloak as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers,[i] what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Matthew 25:31-46
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All 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. 33 He 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. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I 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? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters 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. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I 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, ‘Truly I tell you, 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.”

Leviticus 19:33-34
33 “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. 34 You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.

 

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