What Your Immigration Principles Should Be If You Consider Yourself Christian

Matthew Haverly
Mar 31, 2017 · 4 min read
Foreign person.

So you’re a Christian. You have political views. And particularly about immigrants. Let’s talk about that.

First thing’s first: Your political views should be based on principles, not a political party.

As a Christian, your principles should be based on the values God has for His Kingdom.

Kingdom Principles

Kingdom Principle 1: Kingdom First

Since we are citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven (Philippians 3.20), our political views should be coming from there, not the principles or values the earthly land we live in has. To be specific: I am saying Kingdom values come well before America’s (or whatever other country you come from).

Because our citizenship is in heaven, Jesus is our Lord. Not the POTUS, not Congress, not the Supreme Court. Jesus. We abide by the principles of His Kingdom, not the principles of earthly kingdoms.

That means holding steadfast to a nationalistic, “Constitutional,” view, that is in opposition with how God wants us to view things and act, is wrong.

Kingdom Principle 2: All are equal

There’s at least one fundamental violation that occurs when we deny a foreigner access to our land for the sole reason of where they come from: It denies the truth that we are all equal.

We were all created in God’s image. Imagine you were a statue, chiseled out from the finest marble. That Mexican, that Korean, that Russian, that Syrian, that Turk… they were all crafted from the same marble. There’s no difference in God’s eyes. We’re all the same to Him.

To further solidify this point, read Galatians 3.28 and Colossians 3.11. There is no difference between you and me in God’s Kingdom. Your sex, your race, your age, yes, even your nationality… none of it serves as basis for denial into the Kingdom. Thus, nor should it serve as basis for denial into our country.

The other problem with denying access to our land is this: The Earth and everything in it is God’s (see Psalms 24.1). Who are we to say, “You can’t live in this area of God’s Creation”?

Kingdom Principle 3: Love Them As You Love Yourself

You know that new law Jesus gave us… that one about loving others as ourselves? Well, turns out that’s how God wanted Israel to treat foreigners (see Leviticus 19.34)

God calls us to treat them just as we do our citizens. They are not to be treated differently. We are to welcome them and treat them as our own (see Exodus 22.21). It’s somewhat baffling to learn that, in Exodus 22.21, God didn’t want the ancient Hebrews to forget where they had come from, or how they had gotten where they were. Somewhat baffling because, many of us Americans, it seems, have forgotten that we are (for the most part) descendants of immigrants ourselves.

It helps to think about immigration like a sort of adoption, if you will. We are adopting them into our country. Can you imagine being adopted into a family and then being looked at and treated differently than everyone else in the family? I’m sure you wouldn’t feel very loved…

By grace through faith you were adopted into the Kingdom of God. That same grace that was given freely to us should be given freely to those desiring to enter into our country.

What a petty thing to say: “We don’t want you living in this area, because you were born in another area.” How petty a thing to approve or deny a fellow human based on a factor completely outside of their control (where they were born).

Besides, if our first priority is to make disciples from every nation, how exactly do you think we’re going to disciple that foreigner that we’ve told, “Go home. This is our land.”? Do you think they’re going to buy that whole “Love God, Love Others” message we preach? … I wouldn’t count on it.

Boundaries

Now, because we are to welcome them into our national family, and they are to be treated the same as anyone else in our family, this means they are to abide by the same laws everyone else in our family has to abide by.

It’s no different from welcoming someone into my home with my family. I have rules of the house you must abide by. Those are my boundaries. I do not tolerate those boundaries being violated and crossed. There’s consequences if you do. If you respect and honor the boundaries I have for myself, my family and my home, the bondage of peace will be kept strong.

So what about terrorists? As a principle, I believe all people should be accepted unless they pose a threat to our (national) family . If they are on a terrorist watch list, have a criminal history in their country, or have a contagious disease, I believe we have justified grounds for denying immediate access.

Of course, once accepted, the immigrant would be expected to live by the laws of our land. A child is not adopted into a family and not expected to obey the same rules the other children must follow. Likewise, an immigrant (new citizen) should be expected to follow the same rules their fellow citizens have to follow.

To wrap it up: Be hospitable to strangers (foreigners…? immigrants…?). For in so doing, some entertain angels, unknowingly.

Matthew Haverly

Written by

Christ-loving, life-living, love-giving, knowledge-thirsting, adventure-seeking, nature-loving, man. Young body, old soul. I post my musings here and elsewhere.

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