Immigration and border security are controversial issues sparking heated debate. In the midst of this, Christians may want to know what the bible has to say about it. This article will examine the issue and what the bible has to say on the topic.
Borders vs. Walls
A border and a wall are two different things. A border can be defined by a fence, walls, or be enforced without any kind of physical barrier. You don’t have to support Trump’s wall to support having borders.
“No Borders” is a Straw Man
When you argue against a view that virtually no one holds, you are arguing against a straw man. Virtually no one argues that we shouldn’t have borders. Every member of congress (I believe) supports borders.
Unfortunately, a lot of people argue against a straw man… the idea of open borders. Perhaps they do this because they are misinformed, perhaps they do it because it’s easier to argue against than what their opposition actually holds.
Because of this, people to ask, “what does the Bible say about open borders?” because they don’t realize that virtually no one supports open borders anyway.
And people who simply support an immigration policy with more grace are stereotyped into people who believe in no borders at all.
Ancient Israel in the Bible is *Not* the U.S.
The ancient nation of Israel had a unique role in the salvific history of God which is never to be repeated in any other nation. This was the one and only nation set apart by God to prepare the way for the messiah. For that reason, we can’t assume God’s laws for them apply to another nation.
If we applied ancient Israel’s principles to modern day we could easily justify slavery, which is exactly what happened during American slavery. We could also easily justify massacring women and children. That is why it seems indefensible to put God’s law and promises for ancient Israel onto the modern day U.S.
Jesus’ Nation is *Not* the U.S.
God’s kingdom in the Old Testament was a physical kingdom, but that will never be again until Jesus returns.
As Jesus said,
“My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” (John 18:36, NIV)
God’s kingdom in the ancient world was the kingdom of Israel. But Jesus’ kingdom is not. We cannot assume what was good for a Jewish kingdom in the ancient world is good for another nation today. If we did, we would justify slavery and massacres of women and children. Does anyone have the courage to defend those things? If not, I think you should not apply God’s words to Israel, to America today. Read more about Jesus on immigrants here.
For Christians, Mercy Should Be First
Say we assume undocumented immigrations broke the law and are immoral for doing so. I do not believe this but let’s assume it for the sake of argument. What follows? We can either punish or have mercy. And the later is the calling of Christians.
All Christians broke the law. Everyone has broken the law. We’ve all broken a greater law than any nation’s law: God’s law.
What will we say to God if he expects us to have mercy on other people but we didn’t in the name of, “enforcing the law”? I fear we could end up like the, “unforgiving servant”,
“…the master summoned him and declared, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave all your debt because you begged me. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had on you?’ In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should repay all that he owed.” (Matthew 18:32-34, NIV).
For Christians Grace Should be First
Few things are more important to Christianity than the, “amazing grace” of God. Rather than focusing on punishing people for breaking laws, we should focus on having mercy on our brothers and sisters.
As it says in the bible:
“…the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17)
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” (Matthew 5:7)
“…if you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you.” (Matthew 6:14)
“For judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” (James 2:13)
For Christians, Fear Should Be Last
Why is there so much fear of illegal immigrants? Faith and love should be the distinguishing mark of a Christian, not fear. Isn’t our nation’s success something that comes from God rather than a physical wall? Wouldn’t we be better off by trusting God and having mercy on our neighbors? Wouldn’t we be more likely to succeed?
As Martin Luther wrote in his famous song,
“A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing.”
Our wall of protection is God, and if we choose love and God we have much better security than any wall could ever give.
As Abraham Lincoln Said, “Let us have faith that right makes might.”
How to Have a Christian Nation: Undocumented Immigrants
According to the Pew Research Center, 83% of undocumented immigrants are Christian. Many Christians lament the decline of Christianity in our culture but fail to realize that we could be much closer Christian nation if we simply welcomed our undocumented brothers and sisters. What is more important to us? Isn’t Christianity far more important than anything else in this country and this world?
What Should U.S. Immigration Law Be?
Rather than arguing against the straw man of “no borders”, what really is the question here?
Rather than arguing against straw men, this is the real issue we must solve. It’s a lot more difficult than answering, “should we have borders?” In the here and now, what does God have to say about U.S. immigration? Isn’t that the real question we are trying to get to the bottom of?
The Question of Enforcing the Law
Many people imply that this is all very simple… either we enforce the law, or we don’t. But it is not that simple. We have the ability to choose how we want our laws to be enforced.
Getting Arrested for Going Over for 1mph Over the Speed Limit
It is illegal to go one mph over the speed limit, so why don’t we arrest everyone who does it? Why don’t we pull over anyone who does it? Here is why:
- Society can choose how they want their laws enforced.
- Society can choose what penalties they want their laws have.
You can enforce immigration law without deporting people who have lived here for 20 years. The penalty doesn’t have to be deportation, and we can have leniency for people who have been here over a certain number of years.
You can do this as you can choose not to arrest people for going 1mph over the speed limit. In both cases laws have been broken, and in both cases penalties don’t need to be extreme. This may also need to be combined with a legal path to citizenship but that also seems reasonable for our undocumented neighbors.
It’s Legal to Change the Law
What immigration advocates want is not to break the law, we want to change the law. And that is perfectly legal to do. We change laws all the time, especially when we realize that a law results in harmful consequences.
Simply because people want the law to change doesn’t make them anti-law. American law intentionally allows itself to be changed because the founders realized laws often need to be changed.