I better stand on my soapbox a little longer before someone starts beating me over the head with it. I feel compelled to bring up another wall that is not recent, but has taken on a new look. If you haven’t read my previous post about walls, then I recommend doing that first.
Sometimes we maintain walls that we think we have good reasons to maintain, when, in fact, we do not. For instance, for many Christians the problem with illegal immigration is not so much that it is illegal, but that it is immigration. Illegal immigration is used as a convenient avenue to express what really amounts to fear of the unknown. We hear people talking in languages we do not understand, and we fear that they are talking about us. Our fears are confirmed when they laugh, because we know they are laughing at us. (I hope my sarcasm is obvious.)
So, Christians make statements like, “All immigrants should have to learn English if they are going to come to our country.” All the while, maybe they do not realize that the United States has no official language. And, they make comments within the confines of a discussion about illegal immigration since “illegal” means we can take a moral stand on the issue. But this is not even the real problem.
Here is the real problem: all people are in need of the Savior, even immigrants, and even illegal immigrants…but we forget that too often. Be very careful what stand you take on illegal immigration. Make certain that it is not a stand against immigration in general. Make certain that it is not a stand that builds unnecessary walls. Make certain that it is not a stand that gets in the way of your divinely appointed obligation to make disciples of all nations.
It saddens me to hear Christians complain about immigrants not speaking English. If we saw them as souls maybe we would complain less and do more…like establishing classes through the local congregation to teach English using the Bible…like learning their language so that we can make sure they know God loves them and wants to see them in heaven.
I believe that we have an illegal immigration problem, and that illegal immigration is illegal. I agree that something needs to be done about it. But, I also think that we are missing wonderful opportunities for evangelism in the immigrant community by maintaining what really amounts to unnecessary walls.
We need to start seeing people the way God sees people. “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (1Samuel 16:7) See people as souls in need, and you will begin to fulfill God’s will.
What ideas do you have for reaching out to the immigrants in our communities?