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I Was A Stranger

Today is my day to get all theological on y’all, so buckle up. (Or, fast forward, if this isn’t your thing.)

shutterstock_131350985In preparing for an upcoming book, I’ve been researching issues surrounding immigration and the church. Since this seems to be such a hot topic lately, my temptation is to steer well clear of it. Take the scenic route around it, in fact. I hate getting involved in a discussion that too quickly becomes political, because I feel like political discussions encourage us to take sides and get defensive. No one is going to learn anything (myself included) in a defensive posture.

But I can’t not blog about this. If this offends you, I apologize. That was not my intention. #deepbreath

You see, as a Christian, I have a political opinion. It’s not important, but I have one. I also have an opinion about various moral issues that are not important to discuss because they only really affect me and how I vote. I have opinions about a lot of things, and most of those opinions are not important. Except when it comes to the way Christians live out what we claim to believe (i.e. the Bible). That’s an opinion I have a hard time shutting up about.

shutterstock_54204178So when it comes to an issue like immigration, I am amazed that Christians who claim to have been transformed from the worst of sinners into the forgiven and the adopted and the accepted all of a sudden put up their hands. Or many of us do. We get protective of our rights. Our stuff. Our country. We forget that we who were once strangers were welcomed to a table that did not belong to us. We are spiritual immigrants. All of us.

But we forget one even bigger thing. Regardless of logical pleas to our common sense about caring for those who can’t care for themselves, we claim to have made Jesus the ruler of our will, and we are commanded to be obedient.

To what? you ask. To my opinions? To your opinions? To your preferences? To my preferences? To a pastor? To a party line? To a pundit? To whatever feels right? Hmmm.

In honor of Evangelical Day of Prayer and Action for Immigration Reform, the Evangelical Immigration Table put out the following video. It says better than I ever could that as Christians, we are commanded by Jesus to care for immigrants. Not to have one opinion or the other about political issues. Just to care for immigrants. It is in the Bible, if you were wondering. Matthew 25. Jesus spends kinda a long time on it, actually. Well, see for yourself. This is straight out of Scripture:

He is the stranger we care for. The stranger we fight for. The stranger we lay down our rights and our desires for. There is no better reason. Period. Well, except that He commanded it. Which he did. Need to watch the video again? Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Whether legal or illegal, whether we are excited about more immigrants, or want fewer… those are not the opinions we hold as Christians that are important. I’m not trying to convince you to switch sides, politically, no matter where you fall. You have the right to your opinion, just like I do. But those should not be the opinions that define us, as a church.  They should know we are Christians by our…

Picket signs (and yes, I mean even the one I included here…)?

Political party?

Bumper stickers?

Opinions?

Nope. They will know we are Christians by our… I’ll let you get that one.

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