When it comes to policies and issues related to our Government, the Christian response needs to be one that reflects the gospel above a political party. The Gang of Eight immigration reform bill is one of those issues that Christians need to understand and to make sure our elected officials are balancing justice with compassion to those who live and work illegally in this country.
It is easy to blanket any issue with facts and statistics and immigration is full of politicization on both sides of the aisle. The Christian response to immigration reform also seems to be the subject of debate and the “Jesus or gospel” response depends on scriptural interpretation. Scriptures are referenced toward a more compassionate response to illegal immigrants in this country and then there are the quoted scriptures that admonish the “law-breakers” and lash out at those who do not follow the laws of the land. In between the vast opinions and beliefs of Christians should be the balance of a Christ-centered approach that puts a face to the issue of immigration.
Many times we brand a societal issue with a name that does not reflect the multi-faceted stories that relate to the issue. Illegal immigrants are people with stories and faces and the complexity of this issue should be treated with a compassionate response from the Christian community. However, we should also balance our compassion with justice against those who have disrespected our country’s Constitution, laws and the vision of this free land. It is all about balance and for the Christian the response should be about the loving nature of God. One writer stated, “In everything we should be led by love, justice, and concern for the poor. It is not loving to grant those who are violent or unwilling to work free access to our resources. But it is not loving (to the illegal immigrants or to the citizens who are competing for the same jobs) to prevent those who want to work from earning a fair wage. It is unloving to encourage someone to continue to break immigration laws. But it is unloving to say “be fed and clothed” without providing the means to do so (James 2:15-16).”
Illegal immigration reform should be influenced by the Christian community. It should be given thoughtful consideration balanced by Biblical scriptures and the Constitution which formed a Nation based on laws that welcomed those in search of opportunity and freedom. The Christian response should be to hold elected officials responsible for reform that is balanced with a Godly perspective. An example of this would be the recent letter by Evangelicals for Biblical Immigration to the members of the United States House and Senate that oppose the Gang of Eight’s immigration reform bill. The letter headlines the phrase “Justice for citizens and kindness to guests”. It is a Christian response that brings common sense to a complex issue void of any political party.
Many Christians refuse to mix politics with religion while missing the perfect opportunity to remind our government officials that scriptures already give us the guidelines for balanced wisdom. The EBI letter is just one example of how the Christian community should respond and why immigration reform should be addressed by Christ-followers who are not compelled by politics but by the gospel of Jesus-Christ.