They’re Coming to Us

My news feed the last several days has blown up with the news of children separated from their parents at the border as they cross into the US illegally. Many are decrying the situation as inhumane, while others are saying that “being separated from your children is what happens when you break the law.” We have even had the Attorney General of the United States quote scripture (Romans 13) to defend the practice, much to the chagrin of believers everywhere. And even though President Trump signed an executive order to end the practice, there are still tough issues that need to be addressed. But, one thing keeps coming to my mind, which is something that I heard Nik Ripken say at the Men’s Conference I attended last year. I don’t have the quote exactly, but the gist of it is that the people that we are not going into all the world to reach–they are coming to us.

I do not know what it might take for me to leave my home and travel a long and difficult journey to a land where I do not speak the language and that from all outside appearances does not want me. I would guess that people are not leaving brick ranch houses in nice neighborhoods and good union jobs to come to America to become janitors and pick fruit. They are likely not dragging their kids out of good suburban schools to make the journey to a place where they will have to live in fear of the government. My guess is that they are a lot more afraid of what is going on where they are than what might happen to them here. How fearful would I have to be to make such a journey? Or even worse, how fearful would I have to be to send my child on such a journey, realizing the likelihood that I would never see him or her again? How bad would things have to be for you to do this?

Questions like this, along with our understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ, should color our assessment of this situation. Here are just a few thoughts:

(Micah 6:8) “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” We seem to love justice when it is applied to others, and mercy when it is applied to ourselves. We who have been the beneficiaries of grace must extend it to others.
(Matthew 25:37-40) “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 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.’” There is a tremendous opportunity to serve others who are coming from hopeless situations. We can point them to Christ, who is the only true hope.
We must change our attitude about immigrants. Instead of thinking of them as an “infestation” from some “s*hole country”, we must realize as the Southern Baptist Convention recently worded it, “RESOLVED, That we affirm that all immigrants are either brothers and sisters in Christ or people whom God loves and has given us an opportunity to reach with the gospel where otherwise they may never have heard. “ (SBC 2018 Resolutions).

By no means do I advocate ignoring the law, or leaving our borders unsecured. And I definitely do not claim to have all the answers to the problem. But, the lack of compassion that I have observed from some Christians is appalling! We would do well as believers to be compassionate toward others. “When He saw the crowds, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36, Berean Study Bible). Let us do everything that we can to introduce them to the Shepherd and show them His compassion for them.


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