The Bible is Quite Clear on Immigration

immigrant

Months ago I considered writing about immigration but decided not to. Now, I no longer have a choice. It seems that many Christians seem to have forgotten what the Bible says about immigrants. It’s baffling when you consider that a significant portion of the Biblical narrative centers on being a foreigner in a strange land.

There are dozens of scriptures that address immigration in both the Old and New Testament. Because of Israel’s history in Egypt, there was an expectation that they would treat foreigners with kindness because they too had been in the same position. Exodus is full of teachings on how to deal with those who are immigrants, but Exodus 23:9 provides an excellent summation by stating – thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. And if it weren’t enough, God repeatedly advocates for the immigrant, encouraging the nation of Israel to love the foreigner within their land and remember that they too were once ‘strangers’ in Egypt.

God understands the unique and vulnerable plight of the immigrant. He knew that people might legally mistreat those in the vulnerable position of being an alien in a foreign land. In Deuteronomy, God forbids Israel from using the court system to mistreat those who had newly arrived in the land and lacked inherited rights. The ominous warning issued in Deuteronomy 27 in regards to those who harm immigrants is clear. It states; Do not deprive the foreigner of justice. And to be sure that this law isn’t neglected God connects a curse to those who mistreat foreigners through the legal system.

What’s particularly interesting is that the Biblical narrative of journeying through foreign lands and being an alien isn’t confined to Moses or Abraham. The narrative continues in the life of Yeshua, who while in the womb of His mother fled persecution as Herod issued a decree to kill all the children in the region who were two years old and under. To save the life of their unborn child Mary and Joseph fled to Egypt.

You could correctly state that Mary and Joseph sought asylum in Egypt.

In the New Testament, Yeshua reiterates the message of the Old Testament in regards to how to treat those who are not native born. In a moving display of what love looks like, He tells his disciples, and all that will listen:

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.

In Matthew 25:35 the word stranger in this context refers to a traveler in a land not his own. It is the Greek word used for a foreigner or an alien. Just as God advocated for the immigrant in the Old Testament, His character is unchanged as He identifies with the immigrant in the New. We have to remember Yeshua’s words that whatever we do for the least of these, we do for Him.

 

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Why I Don’t Judge Others

judgy

I’m sure that you’ve heard the adage judge not lest you be judged – which is a verse often cited by people who are good at deflecting guilt. With that said, people who recite this verse have a point. And that point is that we shouldn’t judge other people and the reason why is simple. We don’t have a right to judge people unless we are perfect. Until we have perfected our own life and live in complete purity, it’s simply not a good idea to judge people.

There are several reasons why I don’t judge other people. One of the reasons I don’t judge others is because I am too busy trying to get myself together. I’m tending my own garden. I’m busy washing the dishes in my own sink, and simply don’t have the time to chastise someone for the dirty dishes in their sink. I’m busy trying to remove logs out of my own eye so that I can see clearly to remove specks out of the eyes of my brothers and sisters in Christ.

I’m simply not in a position to judge.

It’s said in the scripture that eventually Christians will judge the world and even angels. However, this occurs at the end of the age, after Christians have been transformed and made new. We don’t have resurrected bodies just yet. When we are made perfect and whole (at the end of the age) we will judge angels… but not before then. If we try to judge before then, we will (naturally) have flawed judgment. It’s not possible to judge without flaws in a flawed body. I’m not flawless. Therefore I do not judge others.

The second reason I don’t judge others is because Scripture says that man judges by human appearance but God judges by the heart. I’m guilty of making assumptions about a person based on what I see on the outside (their circumstances and situation, what I may perceive as their morals and values), but I can only psychoanalyze to a certain level. I cannot see a person’s heart. I don’t know what’s going through a person’s mind.

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying believe half of what you see and none of what you hear. The truth is – things are not always as they seem. This is the reason God tells us that you can’t judge based on what you see.

Since I don’t know a person’s struggle and what’s happening in their heart, it’s not possible for me to make an accurate judgment – in fairness. Flawed judgment is another reason that Christians should walk in continued forgiveness towards others – because we don’t always know about the internal struggles of a person.

There are times when we might find that we aren’t even intimate with our own heartaches and pains. It’s possible (and common) to have emotional wounds within that you are unaware of. Many of us have little understanding of our own emotions and the complexity of our thoughts. Millions of people still haven’t figured out what makes them tick. They don’t know why they have the desires and vices that they have. They don’t know why they have certain habits or think certain thoughts. If it’s possible to not (fully) understand the contents of your own heart, how can you know the heart of a stranger? How can you judge?

What Do You Buy For the Person Who Has it All?

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Last month was my mother’s birthday. I had no idea what to get her. Shopping for her used to be fairly easy, but now finding the right gift is no longer as easy. When I asked my husband for advice on what I should give her – my question to him was “What do you get for the person who has everything?” And, of course, in Socratic wisdom his answer was “Your time.”

Most people when given the choice of an object or time with a person will choose the person. When Ikea producers asked children if they would prefer Christmas presents for the holiday season or more time with their parents, every single child chose time. People want your time; they don’t want more stuff.

This is even applicable on a higher, spiritual level. Which do you believe that God wants more – your tithe or your time? God doesn’t need your money. The earth and the fullness thereof belongs to Him – the entire world and all that dwell therein belong to Him. But God, the Creator of the Universe wants to spend time with you.

Spend time with God – it is how you cultivate and grow a relationship with Him. Spend time with your friends and families. Time is your most precious commodity – spend it well.

 

Should Catholics and Protestants be Friends?

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I know that a lot of people don’t like the idea of Catholics and Protestants hanging out with each other. Apparently, there’s supposed to be a huge fight between us. But the rift doesn’t end there. Even between different denominations there is a battle raging. Baptists don’t like Methodist; Methodist don’t like Anglicans and so on, and so on.

But what does the Bible say about all this?

Ephesians 4:1-6 says:

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

When it all comes down to it: here is the question we must ask each other: Do you believe that Yeshua is the Christ? Do you serve God? Is the Holy Spirit living in you?

It’s easy to get caught up in different interpretations, but we don’t have time for dissension. There isn’t time for strife. There’s an African proverb that states: “Two men in a burning hut don’t have time to argue.” Church: THE HUT IS ON FIRE! And when I refer to the hut, I’m speaking metaphorically of the world. The world is dying. People are dying around us.

Christians don’t have time to argue about whether a passage means this or that. When we allow disunity in the body through scriptural confusion, we are allowing the enemy in – God is not the author of confusion or chaos.

I understand that the word ‘ecumenical’ raises red flags because sometimes this means that non-Christian doctrines are in a “Christian” church. I understand. I care about sound doctrine – and I think that every believer should often pray, “God if there is any doctrine in my life that is NOT sound, expose and remove it.” If you ask, God will remove false teaching from your life.

With that said, let’s not spend precious time fighting brothers and sisters in the faith. Let’s walk in love and focus more effort on reaching the lost.

The Yes Dear Marriage (1 Kings 1:28)

When Denzel Washington was asked by a reporter what the key to success was in his 25-year marriage, his response was; “Do whatever your wife tells you. Yes, dear. Breathe.”

Marriage begins with Yes.

When a man (or woman) proposes the one word that they need to hear to begin the marriage journey is “Yes.” The phrases “Yes”, “I do”, or “I will” is the start of the marriage and continuing the usage of the word keeps the marriage going.

Biblically, we are told that wives are to submit to their husband – or in simple terms – “Yes, Dear.” And Husbands are given a Biblical mandate to love their wives – in simple terms – “Yes, Dear.”

When Bathsheba went to David to ask him about Solomon taking over his kingship, David in his old age had learned how to properly respond to his wife. His response to her request: Yes Dear.

Most people are familiar with the Year of Yes, but fewer people understand how powerful a Marriage of Yes can be. In life, yes attracts opportunities and opens doors – it can make life richer, fuller and more vibrant.

In a marriage, yes creates a home of unity. Yes stretches and strengthens the relationship. Yes makes a marriage richer, fuller, and more vibrant.