Immigration and the plight of the refugee has been in the news constantly over the past week, thanks to care and confusion over President Trump’s executive order concerning extreme vetting. Admittedly, I have not done my due diligence to understand all of the ins and outs. (And really, we should all do our fact-checking.) I am still on the hunt for even-handed coverage.
But, I know this: our church is smack-dab in the middle of an area popular for refugee and immigrant resettlement. The church’s location and associated ministries are a huge part of why I began worshiping there in 2006 and serving on staff from 2009-2011. I’ve been able to tutor, volunteer as an ESL teacher, participate in multi-lingual worship services, help lead fun athletic activities and games for young children and pre-teens, and facilitate a reading group for refugee and immigrant women. These opportunities have been a joy.
Politics aside, I’m happy more people are paying attention to the needs of others right now. Deuteronomy 10:18-19 says:
He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.
Micah 6:8 says:
He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?
We can love others because God first loved us, demonstrated in so many ways, but ultimately through His son Jesus’s death on the cross for our sins. Recent evidence of the brokenness in the world should remind us that sin isn’t just an old-school concept for crazies. On this side of Heaven, we grapple with our own selfishness and the selfishness of others constantly. On this side of Heaven, we will never love our neighbors perfectly, nor will they love us perfectly. However, God gives us opportunities and avenues to participate in acts of kindness and mercy every day. We don’t need to lose heart or give up–we can lean on the Savior of humanity who has already won, and who supplies the grace we need to care for our neighbors.
Here are two helpful posts with actionable ideas and more context:
Living on Grace: Act Justly, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly With Your God
The Gospel Coalition: How to Respond to the Refugee Crisis
1 John 4:49: We love because he first loved us.