It doesn’t surprise or bother me at all when people who aren’t Christian call my anti open borders, pro extreme vetting, anti illegal immigration views hypocritical while I listen to them parrot a list of verses from the Bible- my Guidebook to life. They usually pick verses such as Leviticus 19:34:“The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt.”, or Ezekiel 16:49:“Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.”, or best of all, Matthew 25:34-46:“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in. I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’“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.’“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Scriptures from a Book that, by the way, they believe is a backwards, bigoted, genocide endorsing, archaic collection of fairy tales. No- their opinion doesn’t affect me. Why would I be offended? They are basing arguments on a Book they have no understanding of.
I’ll tell you what really DOES bother me though. When some of my fellow Christians misuse these same verses to accuse me of not portraying the “love” of Jesus. It concerns me, because to hold this view, you must completely disregard the context of these scriptures. Something that is never advisable when it comes to Bible study. I mean, let’s just take the context of the first two examples I gave: Leviticus 19:34 and Ezekiel 16:49. Leviticus is a chapter full of God’s laws to the Israelites. Laws that incidentally would prohibit “foreigners in our land” from worshiping their own gods, impose Jewish dietary restrictions, and demand the death penalty for what many are now considering “alternative lifestyles”. Is that really the context you want to operate in? The entire context of Ezekiel 16:49 is a rebuke comparing Jerusalem to an adulterous wife who behaves like a prostitute. He goes on to tell them they will bear the consequences of their lewdness and detestable practices. Spoiler alert- He ain’t just talking about their failure to be compassionate to the needy! With regard to Matthew 25:34-46, maybe I could understand a pro-open borders, pro- illegal immigration application of these scriptures IF the rest of the Bible was silent regarding the formation of nations and boundaries and the role of the Christian vs the role of the government. However, as it turns out- the Bible has quite a lot to say on these topics.
What does the Bible have to say about nations and boundaries? Well, first off, God Himself created them way back in Genesis 11. Prior to Genesis 11 all people spoke a common language. We all know the story: the world had become so wicked that God destroyed it all in a flood- all with the exception of Noah, his family, and the animals on the ark. After the flood, God’s command to Noah and his family was to be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth. Instead, man gathered together in the plain of Shinar to build themselves a city. We all know this story about the Tower of Babel. It was our first attempt at a one world government. Interestingly, many astrological and occult practices date back to the Tower of Babel. So, God nipped that in the bud right quick. Genesis 11:5-9 explains that God confused their languages and scattered them over the earth. Why did God do this? Joseph Farah explains it well in his article What Bible Says About Illegal Immigration, “It seems He scattered the world’s population and created the diverse languages in an effort to subvert man’s efforts to unite in a global kingdom under a false universal religion…Interestingly, one of the prime motivations of those behind the promotion of borderless societies is this very same notion of regional government and global government and the breakdown of nationalism.” God is sovereign over all and that includes nations and boundaries. Acts 17:26 says “and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation…” God created the boundaries for a reason.
Now that we have established that God actually created the nations and their boundaries, we must note that the Bible makes very clear distinctions between the role of the government and the role of the individual. Scripture clearly indicates that God charges governments with preserving order, protecting citizens, and punishing wrongdoers- Romans 13:1-7. Earthly governors “bear the sword” on behalf of those under their authority. This means governments are given the authority to preserve law and order, fight off invaders, and punish law breakers. When it comes to immigration, the government is well within its right to create and enforce laws to preserve the safety and welfare of its citizens. Government is also well within its right to punish anyone- citizen or not, who breaks these laws. Doug Brandow sums it up well in his Biblical Foundations of Limited Government, “Thus, government is to be a neutral arbiter and protector.”
Conversely, the Bible charges the individual with a completely different role. Jesus tells us in Luke 6:27-31: “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.” In this passage Jesus is specifically speaking to us as individuals. In John 18:36, Jesus tells us “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.” Here Jesus says that we should not fight for the sake of His spiritual kingdom. As Doug Brandow notes regarding I Timothy 2:1-4, “We are to pray for the welfare of government and to thank God for the blessings that we receive through it. We receive earthly blessings through the activities of the government, but our most important concern for government is that it will promote peaceful conditions in which the Gospel can be freely preached, so that all men have the opportunity to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Matthew 25:34-46 applies specifically to us as individuals and our personal acts of kindness for which we will be held accountable. When it comes to our individual responsibility to immigrants, illegal or otherwise, we absolutely have the personal responsibility to feed the hungry, cloth the naked, care for the stranger, etc. Our actions are to be guided by compassion for all people. It also bears mentioning that in our role as purveyors of compassion, we are also exhorted in Leviticus 19:15 to do so fairly, not perverting justice to show partiality or favoritism to the poor.
However, when we as Christians confuse commands given specifically to us as individuals and endeavor to apply them to the government, it results in a failure of the government to perform in its Biblical capacity. It is indeed merciful and loving for an individual to “turn the other cheek”, give to the needy, or personally sacrifice in order to help others, but the government can’t do any of these things- it can only obligate its citizens to. Applying this scripture to a government causes it to inflict harm on its citizens. Let’s look at amnesty for example. Forgiving those who have entered the country illegally or allowing those whose visas have expired to stay, might be considered “compassionate” to the lawbreaker, but what are the effects on US citizens? If these people are granted legal status they now qualify for already scarce public resources such as Medicaid, welfare, etc at the cost of US citizens. The US, at this point, is struggling to fund these programs for the benefit of our own needy citizens. (The extent to which the US should offer these programs is a related issue, but beyond the scope of this discussion- so I’m just going to leave that one alone for now.) Some may say, “We must be compassionate to both!” Yes, we as individuals should- but the reality is resources are NOT unlimited. (Some people have a hard time accepting this concept, but I assure you- the government has no resources of its own. The resources the government has are derived from the citizens and we as citizens do not have unlimited funds) Resources that go to one individual, reduce the availability of resources to other individuals. This causes the government to fail in its role by placing compassion for the foreigner above compassion for its citizens.
Should the government “turn the other cheek” in response to threats of war from our “neighbor” nations? Whether or not certain groups may acknowledge it, does not change the fact that we are currently at war with radical Islam. Their entire goal is to defeat the “infidels” (that’s ALL of us here in the US, not just the conservatives by the way) and instate their ideology complete with Sharia law- which is not exactly a pro-human rights system- to say the least. It is also a verifiable fact that ISIS has in the past and currently continues to use the sad state of our immigration law enforcement along with our refugee policy to infiltrate the US.( If you would like to be educated regarding the history of Islam, I have attached a fabulous video that breaks it down in about 17 minutes at the bottom of this article.) It is the very definition of the Biblical role of our government to protect it’s citizens from such threats through the enforcement of immigration laws, temporary bans, extreme vetting measures, or whatever means it has at its disposal. The willingness of certain citizens, Christian or not, to put themselves at risk to show compassion to foreigners is of no consequence to a government, which acts as an agent for all citizens as a whole- not certain groups of citizens.
In order for Christians to be consistent in this “turn the other cheek” policy with respect to government, we would also have to eliminate the police along with our criminal justice system. Some may consider this an oversimplification, but is it? Coming into the US illegally is the same as breaking into someone’s home. A criminal breaking into your home may also be driven by desperation rather than selfishness or evil, yet that doesn’t affect your decision to lock your door at night. The fact that you lock your door at night doesn’t equate to hate or lack of mercy or compassion for the criminal. Taking measures to protect your family from harm or to guard your possessions doesn’t render you devoid of compassion. By the same turn, relying on the government to enforce laws, punish lawbreakers, and promote a safe society doesn’t equate to a lack of mercy or compassion. If anyone makes such claims, they do so without Biblical basis. We should all strive to be compassionate and merciful, but nowhere does the Bible suggest that we forsake wisdom and prudence in our efforts.
As a matter of fact, when we as Christians become driven to transform the Biblical role of government by transposing our individual responsibilities onto it, we not only cause government to fail in its role, but we can become failures in our own roles as well. For example, when we delude ourselves into thinking that an “open door policy” for our government is the most compassionate and merciful way to help our neighbor, we tend to ignore evidence that “bringing everyone to our house” is not necessarily the best way to help an individual OR a whole ailing nation of individuals. Studies show, that if we literally crammed the US full to capacity with immigrants, we couldn’t even make a dent in the population of needy people worldwide. (If you want to see this fact come alive before your very eyes, take the time to watch the incredibly insightful video I have attached at the end of this article and be educated.) Am I saying that it isn’t worth helping just a few people? Of course not, but how about we aim bigger!
Here’s another example that focuses on the current refugee crisis. According to Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies in his article, “The five-year cost to American taxpayers of resettling a single Middle Eastern refugee in the United States is conservatively estimated to be more than $64,000, compared with U.N. figures that indicate it costs about $5,300 to provide for that same refugee for five years in his native region. Each refugee we bring to the United States means that eleven others are not being helped with that money. In other words, each refugee we bring to the United States means that eleven others are not being helped with that money. Faced with twelve drowning people, only a monster would send them a luxurious one-man boat rather than twelve life jackets. And yet, with the best of intentions, that is exactly what we are doing when we choose one lucky winner to resettle here…Security concerns aside, it is morally unjustifiable to help the few at the expense of the many.” Strong words indeed, but words many of us need to hear. It may make us feel warm and fuzzy to think about how compassionate we are being by opening our borders to refugees while ignoring the dangers we are subjecting our country to by doing so, but is that what Jesus commanded? Emphatically no! Matthew 28:19, Jesus commands US to GO make disciples in other nations. It would be a far stretch indeed to ascertain the we must open our borders so that nations will come to us to be evangelized, OR so that foreigners could come here illegally for any reason at all. The Bible makes clear the role of government and the role of the individual- too much blurring of these lines results in a failure of either to adequately perform their role.
So what should we as Christians be doing to fulfill our duty? For one, we should be concerned with helping ALL the needy- not just the foreign needy. Get out and help your literal neighbors! Give YOUR resources- time and/or money- to organizations that help the needy here in the US as well as organizations that are dedicated to help those abroad. Don’t demand that the government do so in your place and rest believing that this will be counted to you as righteousness. Put your money where your mouth is, so to speak. We are not all individually called specifically to foreign mission. If you are, awesome! God has different plans for each of us. Don’t underestimate the value of mission here in the United States or in your own community.
I just want to end with this caution to Christians who may get caught up in the “left’s” version of what society should be, which is based on a false interpretation of the “love” of Jesus. Jesus isn’t, nor has He ever been a pushover. Love is not synonymous with approving of what any person may believe they require to make them happy. There is a word for that, but it isn’t love- it’s enabling. Also, disapproval is not synonymous with hate. We are fully capable of truly loving someone while at the same time not agreeing with or approving of their choices or behaviors. There will be a time, when the open borders/one world government model will prevail despite the effort of Christians to maintain the Biblical role of government, because that also is a part of God’s plan. This is yet again, the attempt of man to usher in a utopian society without God. God uses this effort to usher in the end times and ultimately establish His Kingdom. If you want to see how that works out, read the book of Revelation. I’ll give you a hint- He WINS. Don’t doubt for a second that these liberal concepts (open borders, socialistic welfare states, etc) are a push in that direction, even if they “seem” upon first glance to be the compassionate route.
1. Immigration, World Poverty, and Gumballs:
2. 1400 Years of Islam History in a Few Minutes: