Listen… If you’re going to pass along the lie that America is anything resembling a “Christian Nation,” you should probably expect a few caravans of immigrants showing up at our borders, looking for help and asylum. You’re aware that Spanish-speaking brown people have Bibles too, right? We’ve been sending American missionaries over to their countries, handing out Bibles, for DECADES… And the Bible is very clear about how we are supposed to treat immigrants in need. It’s all in there — All over the Old Testament AND the New…
One of the main themes of the Bible is the divine call and command for those who would call themselves “People of God” to treat the stranger, the immigrant, and the alien as one of their own. If you know ANYTHING about the Bible, you know it’s in there from the front to the back. Hospitality. Remembering the time WE were strangers. Loving our neighbor. Here are a few verses from the Old Testament:
“Cursed is anyone who withholds justice from the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow.” Then all the people shall say, “Amen!” ~ Deuteronomy 27:19
“Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt.” ~ Exodus 23:9
“For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.” ~ Deuteronomy 10:17-19
“When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am the LORD your God.” ~ Leviticus 23:22
There are SO MANY MORE examples. Hospitality to outsiders and strangers was so integral a part of Israel’s foundational philosophy that they used the right treatment of immigrants and aliens as an example of how they should treat their fellow Israelites. Read this remarkable verse:
“If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and are unable to support themselves among you, help them as you would a foreigner and stranger, so they can continue to live among you.” ~ Leviticus 25:35
Can you believe that?!? Read it again… For the Jewish people, their good treatment of foreigners was the example — the STANDARD — of how they should treat a member of their own tribe who had become poor or unable to take care of himself.
And I’ve written about this before (in a post titled “We’re A Nation Of Sodomites…. Just Not In The Way You’re Thinking”), but when the Bible refers to “Sodomites,” it’s NOT making a statement about homosexuality — It’s talking about people who were horribly inhospitable to visiting strangers. Here is what Ezekiel 16:49 reads: “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” And when Amos compares Israel’s sin to Sodom & Gomorrah, it’s because they “oppress the poor and crush the needy.” (Amos 4:1) There are a bunch of poor and needy people walking toward us right now… How do you think God would want us to handle that?
But it’s not just that big ol’ sentimental softie of an Old Testament God who calls and commands us to treat immigrants with justice, mercy, and love… The New Testament is filled with it too.
“Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality… Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.” ~ Romans 12:13,16
“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.” ~ Matthew 25:35
“Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” ~ Hebrews 13 1-2
“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.’” ~ Matthew 25:40
The Venn diagram of people who are demonizing immigrants and people who would characterize themselves as “White Evangelical Christians” is nearly a perfect circle. But these fake “christians” don’t want to think about verses like “whatever you did for one of the least of these” when it comes to immigrants looking for asylum. They don’t want to consider Jesus as an immigrant looking for help. They are too busy putting up Nativities in their yards to consider the fact that they are they the very embodiment of the voice which greeted Mary with the words “No room in the inn.”
For them, “loving their neighbor” is taking an occasional “mission trip” to places where they can briefly play tourist to some poverty, get some photo ops with some brown kids, maybe apply a coat of paint, and then return home to the warm safety of their gated communities. We are not a “city on a hill.” We are a turret on a guard tower. America is as far from a “Christian Nation” as Donald Trump is far from a “Christian President.”
But imagine a woman came to your door… beaten and bruised… crying for help, and begging for protection from her violent attacker… What kind of person looks through the spy hole and locks the deadbolt? The answer this: The kind of person who is way more consumed with selfishness and fear than with anything resembling “compassion” or “love.” The same is true for the fear-filled man (along with the GOP administration and all the people who support him) who sends 15,000 troops — armed with lethal ammunition — to the Southern border to “greet” our neighbors who are fleeing violence and oppression.
A caravan of “the least of these” is walking toward us… How are we going to respond? Are we going to let a small, narcissistic, evil man strategically whip up our fears of a group of poor, desperate immigrants — still two months away from reaching the border — in order to scare people into voting republican/”build that wall” in the mid-term elections? Or are Christians going to respond the way the God of the Bible calls us to respond — As if it was Jesus himself walking toward us looking for a safe place… Looking for asylum… Looking for help…
I’ve got one more Bible verse for you, and this one comes straight from the mouth of Jesus…
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.” ~ Matthew 23:13
If you know even the most BASIC things about Christianity or the Bible or Jesus, you KNOW that the actions of this nation, this president, and this GOP administration are about as far from “Christian” or “neighbor-loving” or Jesus as something can get… But you don’t care. Your FEAR is stronger by far than your LOVE… But for some reason, you insist on still calling yourselves “Christians.” Stop it. You’re not. Not even close. You’re as fake as the faith of our spray-tanned president. You’re Pharisees. You’re hypocrites. Either start acting like Jesus, or stop claiming to be his followers.
It’s been a while since I’ve written something as Jesus-y/Bible-y as this. Just in case you’re a new reader, I don’t think we should be loving our neighbors because a 2000 year old book tells me we should… I believe we should love our neighbors because it is the moral and right thing to do, REGARDLESS of your faith, your name for God, or if you even believe in a higher power. Love is better than fear… Not because the Bible says so, but because it just IS. Anyway, if you’d like to support this blog (and me with it), you can LEAVE A TIP ON PAYPAL. Or you can BECOME A PATRON. Otherwise, follow me ON FACEBOOK, follow me ON TWITTER, or just share this post with the people in your life. Take care of each other…
Nicely said. Thank you for articulating it so well
Thank you! One thing, my friend- it may be time to reconsider using ‘Pharisee’ as a synonym for ‘hypocrite’. It tends toward reinforcing an anachronistic Jewish/Christian divide.
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