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Charity to widow, orphan, and…stranger?

19 June 2010

The religious right has been at the center of recent discussions about immigration, notably in the recent legislation in Arizona.

There are some who want to deport any and all immigrants, which I find funny because every citizen of this country (except the Native Americans) is here because they fled their homeland.

There are others who only want to deport those here illegally. While I understand wanting others to follow the law, this is not convincing. They focus on the letter of the law, rather than asking why there are a huge influx of immigrants right now.

Now, while I find both of these points rather absurd for the everyday American, I find it downright offensive when coming from anyone with Judeo-Christian beliefs. Not only is it unmerciful, but it stands against biblical ethics.

Then I will draw near to you for judgement; I will be swift to bear witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired workers in their wages, the widow, and the orphan, against those who thrust aside the alien, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts. –Malachi 3.5

God will be swift to bear witness against those who thrust aside the alien. Wow. God will judge those who deport people. It says it right there, plain and clear.

So what should be do about immigrants, strangers in our land?

When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. –Leviticus 19.33-34

We should not oppress the stranger, but love and treat them as a citizen.

Why? Because we have been there. We were aliens in the land of Egypt before God brought us out. We should know better. Because we have been strangers in a foreign land, we should know not to enslave (e.g. pay ridiculously low wages to) and oppress those we find in our land.

This is not a suggestion. This is an imperative. “Says the Lord of hosts.” We either begin to see the immigrants among us through radically different eyes, or we will receive the judgment God promises. It’s our choice.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. internet elias permalink
    19 June 2010 11:50

    AMEN! Wonderful perspective on right and wrong. When one looks from the eyes of materialism….he may be compelled to hold off those who might take a piece of the pie. When one looks with a heart of love…he prefers others before himself.

    Again. Amen!

    Carolyn

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