I travel at least once a month between where I live and where my parents live. Every once in a while, as I wait in airports, I see people who are foreigners and do not know the God who loves them. It really breaks my heart, because according to God’s Word, they’re heading to hell if they do not believe in Christ and receive His free salvation. I want to share Christ’s love with them, but I never know how I’ll be perceived or taken, so I don’t do anything.
It used to be that people had to go abroad to share the Good News. No longer do we need to go overseas to reach those who have never heard of Jesus with the Good News. They live in the inner cities and travel throughout the United States, yet we, myself included, don’t welcome them in the name of Jesus. Even now, there are opportunities all around us: at colleges, in our neighborhoods, at the mall. The Lord has given us openings all across the United States to minister to peoples of different cultures and languages.
A Biblical Issue
When most people in the West think about immigration, they think about a political issue, which has heat on both sides. This article is not about the political debate but about the Biblical aspect of immigration and how we can minister to those God is now sending to us.
In the Old Testament, God tells His people, the Israelites, to protect and fight for the rights of the immigrant. Here are some different verses that show it is our duty as Christians to help the refugee:
“When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” —Leviticus 19:33–34 (esv)
“Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts.” —Malachi 3:5 (esv).
God hates it when refugees are mistreated because they are humans made in His image. He doesn’t want anyone to be mistreated. God expects us to love immigrants as much as He expected the Israelites to take care of the sojourners in their land.
Then There’s the Great Commission
Jesus told His disciples to go to all nations and share the Gospel. This command is for all believers everywhere—and it’s for today. With people moving into urban areas, it’s getting easier to share Christ’s love with those who may have never heard of Him. It just takes the Holy Spirit’s prompting to share His love with them.
One of the easiest ways to share Christ’s love with an immigrant is to invite them over for dinner and pray for an opening to share the Good News with them. This could be done in multiple ways, whether that’s moving them through a Gospel presentation or sharing your testimony. Another way to share the Gospel is through giving your neighbor a fruit basket with a gospel tract in it. Hospitality is opening your heart to another person and showing them unconditional love.
God has called us to care for all humans, no matter what we see on the outside, because they are made in God’s image. One day, the sojourner could be a child of God, so continue to love them and share the Good News with them. As with any other person, don’t force anything upon them and be willing to listen to their story.
Loving Your Neighbor
The immigrant may be your next-door neighbor, which is an opportunity to share the Good News and show love to them, because in their home country they may have never had the opportunity to see Christ’s love.
America is a land of opportunity, and many immigrants are looking for a better life so they can provide for their families back home. America is also a land of opportunity for people to hear the Good News. They are looking for people who understand and love them unconditionally. This is why hospitality is so important.
Jesus told a parable about how to love our neighbor in the Gospel of Luke. In it, He shared how two people—a priest and a Levite—passed by a man beaten up by thieves. They were going to the temple in a hurry and didn’t stop to help the man in need. A few hours later, a Samaritan came and took care of the man who was in need.
Those who pass by someone in need, thinking they’re too busy to take care of the immigrant, are equal to the priests and Levites. On the other hand, those who take care of refugees are like the good Samaritan. They provide for them until they can get on their feet.
Hospitality takes caring. We have no excuse to not take care of refugees, because Jesus tells us to take care of them as our neighbors.
Being a Christian is about your life becoming like Christ. Since God has brought the sojourner to our doorstep, let’s take the opportunity to share what Christ has done for us and care for the immigrant.
Relevant: Welcoming Immigrants is Central to the Christian Faith
World Relief: Immigration is Changing the Face of Christianity for the Better
CrossWalk: Why Hospitality to Immigrants is Central to the Christian Faith