Monday, November 3, 2008


Now back to XLT’s questions in his comment on my post, WHAT ABOUT ROMANS 13? “I think I understand what you are saying here...but is there a distinction to be drawn then? If we can't hold them accountable for obeying the laws of the land as it pertains to immigration, how are we to hold them to the laws of the same land in regards to other crimes? I think I understand what you are saying here...but is there a distinction to be drawn then? If we can't hold them accountable for obeying the laws of the land as it pertains to immigration, how are we to hold them to the laws of the same land in regards to other crimes?”

These questions seem to point to an ethical dilemma. There are no easy answers to them, but I’ll try. First, I believe we need to distinguish our responsibilities as citizens of the Kingdom of God from our responsibilities as citizens of the Kingdom of Man. (See THE TWO KINGDOMS.)

As citizens of the Kingdom of Man (the USA), we are to support government laws as they apply to immigrants. However, we do have a say in regard to these laws. We should seek legislation that is just and compassionate. I don’t think that we should regard the undocumented immigrant as a criminal such as a thief or murderer. These are people in need, most of whom came here because of that need. Just what forms though, that just laws may take, we Christians may have differences.

As citizens of the Kingdom of God (in this age, the church), our responsibility toward undocumented immigrants (or any other kind) is to love them as ourselves (Leviticus 19:34), to seek to win them to Christ (see STRANGERS AND ALIENS), to fulfill the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20.

Apparently, God sees immigrants, not as criminals, but as people in need. Notice how He names them along with other needy groups as especially in need of Israel’s care:

“Now when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field, neither shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. Nor shall you glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the needy and for the stranger. I am the LORD your God” (Leviticus 19:9, 10).

“When you have finished paying all the tithe of your increase in the third year, the year of tithing, then you shall give it to the Levite, to the stranger, to the orphan and to the widow, that they may eat in your towns, and be satisfied” (Deuteronomy 26:12).

I don’t believe that God’s care for the “stranger” has changed from Old Testament times to today.

Also, we can’t always tell which immigrants are documented or which aren’t. Do we have the right to ask them?

“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it” (Hebrews 13:2). Nothing said here about which strangers we are to be hospitable to.

It troubles me that so many Christians don’t see the difference between our dual responsibilities. Often I hear them speaking with fear and hatred toward those needy people all the while believing that they are speaking as Christians.

Bill Ball


XLT said...

I also don't think that the illegal immigrant shouldn't be considered on the same level as murderer in particular. In this country we allow non-violent crime to pass by with barely any punishment and rarely any restitution made by the perpetrator.
I definitely see a similarity in the crimes (both non-violent, etc.) being committed, although often the white collar crime committed by our own citizens is far greater in dollar amounts than the average undocumented immigrant will ever take out of the system....

I have worked in many industries where many of the individuals were likely ilegales... I have found in them in general the same type of work ethic and commitment that made this country strong...first generation immigrants are perhaps the most industrious of all workers in this country. Unfortunately, it does appear that the difference in most people's minds between a Canadian illegal immigrant and a, to use a broad term, Latin American illegal immigrant is racial prejudice and perhaps even linguistic prejudice if that makes sense...the first indicative of perhaps an insidious hate...the other of deeply ingrained laziness on the part of the prejudiced.

That being said, I find the arguments about the economic impact of illegal immigration by most conservatives to be two-faced... They will often state many statistics about the impact on public school systems, hospitals, social welfare programs particularly... They are trying to identify the illegal immigration problem as the root, when truly, according to their own political inclination in most cases, those programs should not exist...

So for the conservative in this case, I say, get rid of the programs, and nobody can take advantage of them (even those who are our citizens who are taking advantage of them)...although, I don't agree that they need to be abolished's just incongruent for the conservative to blame illegal immigration for the problems and excessive burdens that these programs are experiencing.

Regarding those ilegales who DO commit violent crimes...the porous nature of the border does interfere with the execution of justice... I would have no problem providing information and delivering someone into custody in those cases...

I have lived my entire life in places where undocumented immigrants have been fairly prevalent...and I have never felt the need to ask anyone their status... if anyone asks for help I try to give it to them if I can (Gal.6:10)...and encourage others to do the same.

Bill Ball said...

Thanx Josh