Is It Really About “America First?”
In light of everything that is happening today in our nation regarding area of immigration, I wanted to write about how as Christians, we need to respond to these issues and see what God’s heart looks like towards the foreigner and sojourner. Instead of just being ethnocentric as Americans, and seeing America First!, our core identity is rooted in our identity in Christ, far more than our national identity. We are part of God’s family, and God’s family extends to every tribe, tongue, and nation (Revelation 7:9). As Christians, we need to be more than just concerned about America, because our global family extends beyond our borders. God’s heart is for the foreigner, for the outcasts, for the marginalized. All throughout the Law, God made provision for the foreigner and for the poor. (Exodus 23:9, 12; Leviticus 19;10, Deuteronomy 10:18).
In the Gospels, Jesus hangs out with the outcasts and those who were shamed in society. James 1:27 says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” As Christians, we are called to help those who are helpless, to give aid to those in need and who are the weakest among us. Instead of just looking to our nation’s self-interest, we need to open our eyes and hearts to the people who are the most helpless.
As a daughter of immigrants, I see how coming to America was a way for my parents to rise out of poverty, during a period of martial-law in the Philippines. I reflect on the privilege and opportunity that I have been granted, being a U.S. born citizen, never having to experience the kind of poverty my parents experienced in the Philippines. I’m grateful that the U.S. opened its borders to them, and want to use the resources I’ve been given to help those in need. Because of this opportunity, I want to be a voice for those who may not have a voice, for those who are often overlooked and forgotten.
The Syrian refugees who have fled their war-torn country are in need of so much as they look to find a new home. They are the ones who are in need of much assistance. World Relief along with many Christian leaders who include Tim Keller, Max Lucado, and Bill Hybels, recently signed an Open Letter to President Trump showing their support for refugees and concern for Trump’s recent executive order stopping refugees from coming into the country. You can also sign your name to this letter, to show your support in welcoming refugees. Let’s come together as a church and show compassion to those who are in need.
I am also grateful that as Christians our ultimate hope lies in, not in our government or the governing authorities, but in the hope of eternal life in Christ. One day, we will see the Lamb upon the Throne, and we will be worshiping with all the nations. And we will see the tree of life, and in it’s leaves there will be the healing of the nations (Revelation 22:2). Here there will be true unity – unity in worshiping our God on His Throne, where every tribe, tongue, and nation will be worshiping together. Until that day, there is much work that needs to be done here on earth. As we pray, “Your Kingdom come,” (Luke 11:2) and “Come, Lord, Jesus! (Revelation 22:20),” may we be God’s hands of mercy and compassion to the outsiders and foreigners.