I am created in the image of God. I am a follower of Jesus. I am an American citizen. I am the daughter of an immigrant. These are markers of my identity and my perspective has been shaped by these strong realities.
For years, I have been learning about immigration as an issue and have also been helping churches and Christian leaders think biblically about how to respond to what has become a political crisis in our nation. Whatever you believe about last night’s decision by the President, there are things we can remember as the Body of Christ.
First, God makes very clear in the scriptures that he loves immigrants. Deuteronomy 10:18 reads, “He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.” Nicholas Wolterstorff coined the phrase “quartet of the vulnerable” to describe the groups of people God repeatedly says we ought to have special concern for. They are the orphan, the widow, the foreigner and the poor. The Hebrew word for foreigner or immigrant is “ger” and is used over 90 times in the Old Testament. God’s love for immigrants is not something he is silent on, and his concern for immigrants is made clear in his Word.
But God is not simply suited to love immigrants from afar and show them special concern on his own. Following the passage in Deuteronomy where he explicitly states his love for them, he goes on to give guidance for what his people’s response ought to be in the very next verse, “And you are to love those who are foreigners, for your yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.” The Hebrew people were commanded to LOVE the foreigner in their midst, and the church today is called to the same response.