by Ralph Berry
I AM A CHRISTIAN. As a Christian, I have seen men who profess the name of Christ spill vitriol and malice regarding immigrants or “strangers” among us. So you ask the question, “How can such men profess a faith in Christianity.” I have asked as well.
You hear the rhetoric about immigrants and you ask yourself, “How can this be the love of Christ?” You read the reports of abuse and even rape of immigrants who are afraid to report their perpetrators, lest they are arrested by ICE agents. All the while you see people who profess their faith in God, stand by indifference. You ask yourself, “What kind of God are they are serving?” I too, have asked the same question.
You watched as one of the most well-known Christians in America proclaimed, “Immigration is not a Biblical issue.” No doubt you were shocked at such a statement, and honestly, so was I.
You have seen Christians chanting to deport men, women, and children, regardless of their poverty, age, or even their faith. You ask yourself, “How is this the Love of Christ?” I have asked as well.
If you or someone you love has experienced fear, trepidation, or dismay at this type of thinking that has come from those who claim the name of Christ, I apologize. Why? Because I am a Christian. I ask forgiveness for a people who do not yet know that they should ask forgiveness for themselves.
Let me tell you about the Christ of the Bible. Let me tell you about the One who was despised, rejected and alienated in a foreign land. Let me tell you about the One who was in love with the poor and down trodden. Let me tell you about the One who said, “True religion is to care for the orphan and the widow.” Let me tell you about the God Who said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God (Matthew 19:24)”. Allow me to tell you about the One who said, “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.”
Be assured that Christ loves you dearly, and so do I. He carries a special place in His heart for the poor, disenfranchised immigrants who are merely searching for a better life.
Do not allow those around you to mar your image of Christ and Christianity, because the God I serve, the God as portrayed in scripture, loves the immigrant, the alien, dearly. Imagine with me, if you knew that you were not a criminal with ill intent, but you were fleeing ICE agents, fearful, not knowing how you would eat in the morning, searching for a kind stranger to take you in. I can assure you if Jesus yet walked the earth, and you came upon His home, He would feed you and take you in. And you know what? So would I.