Founder & President, Memphis immigration Project
The Bible is not silent about God commanding us as Christians to love Immigrants as our neighbor. In Luke 10:25-37 (The Good Samaritan), Jesus commands us to love God vertically, and love our neighbor as ourself horizontally—this includes those from different backgrounds and ethnicities, including Immigrants.
One of the key words in Luke 10:25-37 is love, which is translated in the Greek to Agape. Agape Love involves unconditional faithfulness and commitment for the benefit of others—more importantly, this agape love is not just a warm feeling, but one that is always shown through action. We see this played out through the parable of the Good Samaritan shared by Jesus in this Luke parable to demonstrate what agape love really looks like when the Good Samaritan, stops what he’s doing and serves the beaten man on the dangerous Jericho road by bounding up his wounds, taking him to an inn, and spending his own money so he can heal. This parable of the Good Samaritan is Jesus’ way of showing us what it really looks like to demonstrate agape love to our Immigrant neighbor.
In light of this, here are 4 ways we can love Immigrants.
Prayer is our connection to God Himself. It allows us to not only ask Him things but to grow in our intimacy and relationship with Him. Often, when we pray, we usually grow burdens for those who need the Gospel and a loving neighbor. There are Immigrants in our States, towns, and cities who need prayer because of the physical and spiritual circumstances they face daily through fear of deportation, DACA being rescinded in 6 months, no fluency in English, and being different culturally and ethnically. Many Immigrants even face emotional and psychological trauma because they are thousands of miles away from immediate family. Therefore, taking time out of our day to pray for God to give peace and comfort to Immigrants is one way we can love them as our neighbor.
Proverbs 31:8 says, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.” We all have a voice and platform to some extent with others and on social media. One way to love Immigrants is to speak up for them as Christ spoke up for us when we were dead in our sin by dying on the cross and resurrecting from the dead. I have personally heard a lot of dehumanizing rhetoric spoken about Immigrants that just simply is not true. There’s also a lot of stereotypes and generalizations of Immigrants that are not true.
Many Immigrants cannot speak up for themselves so we must, as Christians, do this. One practical way is by posting Scripture about God’s love and protection for Immigrants on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or Snapchat. A second practical way is by reaching out to the church we attend and talking with them about ways to engage and love the Immigrant Community. As Christians, we must use our voice to speak up for Immigrants because many cannot speak up for themselves—they need us, the Church.
The word hospitality throughout the New Testament has a combination of two concepts. The first part means Love which is a “brotherly love”, and the second part means “Stranger.” In other words, these two words combined mean one who loves Strangers (Immigrants) like you would your own brother. As Christians, we have an opportunity to love Immigrants is by showing hospitality to them like we would our own family members. This means we should seek to have Immigrants over for breakfast, lunch, or dinner—or better yet, go to their home and have a meal with them. We should seek to hang out and enjoy them during the Holidays. We should seek to be a family with them because one of the hallmarks of a Jesus follower is to show hospitality to the Immigrant.
WALK ACROSS THE STREET
In Luke 10:25-37, Jesus commands us to love our neighbor as ourself and shows us what this looks like by sharing the parable of the Good Samaritan. In the parable, there was a man on his way from Jerusalem to Jericho, and robbers stripped and beat him. While beaten on the ground, then a Priest walked by, saw the beaten man, and walked passed him on the other side of the road. Then a Levite walked by, saw the beaten man, and passed him on the other side of the road. Finally, a Samaritan—someone who is an outsider, saw the beaten man, had compassion, and instead of passing by him on the other side of the road, walked across the street, and took care of him by bounding up his wounds, setting him on his animal, taking him to an Inn, paid for his stay, and planned to come back to check on the beaten man despite the risk he faced by being on the Jericho Road. The Samaritan cleared his entire schedule that day to love this beaten man.
There are Immigrants in our States, towns, and cities who are beaten physical and spiritually like the beaten man in the Good Samaritan and need someone to risk their life, clear their schedule, walk across the street, and love them. As Christians, we can be the one who walks across the street by taking a meal or dessert to an Immigrant family in our neighborhood, town, and city. We can walk across the street by giving an Immigrant family a ride to work or school, volunteer at a local organization to help teach ESL classes, study the Bible and what it says about God love for Immigrants. Walk across the street by viewing Immigrants as people to love, not problems to solve.
What are some practical ways you can take the time to love Immigrants like Christ commands you to?