Immigration and evangelism
Every year large numbers of people come to the United States looking for jobs. Because of laws restricting immigration most of these job seekers aren’t able to enter the country legally but their need is so great they come here anyway. As a result there are millions of illegal immigrants in this country and one of the major problems facing the government is what to do about them.
It is unlikely that any government leader will ever think of looking in the Bible for a solution to the problem. That is unfortunate because the Bible does have the solution.
It tells us who our country really belongs to.
The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof,
the world and those who dwell therein,
for he has founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.
The United States, like every other country on earth, is God’s property because he was the one who created the earth. God has established standards of right and wrong that apply to all people and each country will be judged on how closely its laws conform to those standards.
The commands that God gave to Israel show how he wants us to treat immigrants.
When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. 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.
The solution to the problem of illegal immigration is to make it easy for people to immigrate legally.
You shall not give up to his master a slave who has escaped from his master to you. He shall dwell with you, in your midst, in the place that he shall choose within one of your towns, wherever it suits him. You shall not wrong him.
God singles out one kind of immigrant for special mention, the slave who has escaped from his master. Today’s equivalent would be the refugee who has been forced to flee his home because of war or persecution. If we want God’s blessings on our nation we must welcome these refugees and help them to start a new life.
There was a time when it was easy for anyone looking for work or for freedom to settle in America. The contribution these immigrants have made to our society is one reason our country is as strong as it is.
Christians have an additional reason for encouraging immigration. We have been commanded to preach the gospel to all the world. Whenever people come to America from other nations our job is made easier. Many immigrants are from countries that don’t allow anyone to preach the gospel so we have an opportunity to reach them that we wouldn’t otherwise have.
I have written about the United States because that is where I live but the Biblical principles apply to any country. The world often looks at immigration as a problem that needs a solution. Christians should look at it as a God given opportunity for evangelism.