It sounds like some of my brothers and sisters in Christ are torn on their desire to please the Lord through being lawful citizens and their desire to please the Lord through showing mercy to the immigrants.
My heart hurts a lot in this time, and that’s knowing where I fall on this issue. I can’t imagine what it’s like for you.
Here are some facts about the situation and some evidence of God’s heart that I hope helps you understand what is going on:
1) Some of the victims of this crime are coming here 100% legally. And their children are still being ripped away.
(see the question regarding families that enter at official ports of entry to apply for asylum)
2) A just law is to be followed. An unjust law is to be challenged. The law told Daniel to pray to no one but the king. The law told Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to bow before an idol. They honored God by breaking those laws. And then even God’s own Law showed grace for those who were in need:
“At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.”
He answered, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread—which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests. Or haven’t you read in the Law that the priests on Sabbath duty in the temple desecrate the Sabbath and yet are innocent? I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” (Matthew 12:1-8)
3) Yes, in the Bible we see God establishes governments, who provide us with law, but throughout the Bible, God calls out governments for doing wicked acts against immigrants and refugees. Many, many times. Even those God once established would sometimes fall into wickedness. And no matter the “legal” status of these immigrants, ripping away children from their parents, and then imprisoning those children is a wicked act.
“Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against… those who oppress… 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)
“Cursed be anyone who perverts the justice due to the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’” (Deuteronomy 27:19)
In fact, providing refuge for immigrants is part of the Law that God gave to Israel:
“You shall not hand over to their master any slaves who have taken refuge with you from their master. Let them live among you in any place they choose, in any one of your communities that seems good to them. Do not oppress them.” (Deuteronomy 23:15-16)
A collection of evidence on what these children are being put through at the border. None of this is just. Please be aware that the one audio post from ABC may be exceptionally distressing:
4) There is active manipulation being done to the church, to the body of Christ, to use us as a tool to defend and justify these acts. Romans 13 has been used to justify countless atrocities, including slavery. A reverend who supported slavery once said during the abolitionist movement:
“Here is our policy then: to push the Bible argument continually, drive abolitionism to the wall, and compel it to assume an anti-Christian position. By doing so we compel the whole Christianity of the North to array itself to our side.”
Our desire to be just and to do justice is being manipulated by those who want to stay in power. So when the injustice comes from our very laws, it is our job to instead look to the Law of God which is grace, love, and freedom to the oppressed.
Recall Isaiah 58, the fast that is pleasing to the Lord. Simply following the letter of the fast is not pleasing to Him. He is pleased when our fast looks like this:
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Our God is a God who desires mercy. That is His heart towards us. That is His heart towards these migrant families and these migrant children. And if we find ourselves lost and confused as to what we ought to do according to the law of the land, let us pursue God’s heart.
“Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Romans 13:10)
I hope this information helped.
If you feel the need to act in light of this, here are a number of sites that provide information on what we can do to change this situation.
You can also call your representatives to make sure that they are supporting a bill that would prohibit children being separated from their parents at the border. Ready-made scripts are available here: