I looked up the word “prejudice” before beginning this blog post. It can mean any number of things, and often carries the idea of harboring a “negative” opinion about something or someone. Generally it seems to mean, “any preconceived opinion or feeling, either favorable or unfavorable.” The truth is we all have personal preferences and we have prejudices that are a part of who we are. In no area of our current state of affairs in the U.S. is this more clearly demonstrated than the area of “illegal aliens”.
What do I mean by “Illegal missions”? And no doubt in the end, I really am talking about “Illegals Mission.” Let me be as clear as I can in this murky water, I do not want to wade into a political conversation. It is not my final objective in this blog. I am not in this article attempting to argue for or against any particular political point of view on immigration, or the laws or politics that surround it. With that said, let me pose a question I heard someone ask the other day, and which I have since asked some of my friends. If someone runs a stop sign, or drives over the speed limit, are they an “illegal” or are they doing something illegal? Let me take it a step further. Suppose they know that a law enforcement officer is not going to stop them for speeding if they remain at less than 10 mph over the speed limit, so it is their habit to always drive 9 mph over the speed limit. Since it now is their lifestyle and their “all the time” behavior, are they an “illegal” or are they doing something illegal?
We term someone who is in our country illegally to be an “illegal”. The very description incites passion in our conversation. There is so much baggage packed into this conversation that it is often difficult to wade through. From a Christian perspective, the Bible is full of immigrants, refugees, and movement of people. Adam and Eve were forced into migration from the Garden when they sinned. They were in every sense refugees. Yes, it was their fault, but they were immigrants nonetheless. God called Abraham not only to leave his home, but to go wherever God might direct without knowing where he was to go. The whole movement of the Israelites into the “Promised Land” was a story of migration.
Our history is all about migration, and immigration. Can you imagine native Americans watching the Europeans land on the coast having a conversation about legal migration. “I guess we could grant them amnesty.” Where did the “Indians” come from? Biblically we believe everyone is of common origin through Adam, and therefore there was migration from somewhere to populate the America’s.
So where am I going with this conversation? Friday afternoon I was a part of a group of excursions in our city of Columbia, S.C. About 6 groups went out and about to encounter folks of other cultures. In a matter of about 2.5 hours we discovered 26 different ethnic groups. Now many of us are somewhat blind to the ethnic variety around us. We see Africans and we think, well, they are all the same, when in reality each country of Africa is made up of hundreds of different ethnic groups as diverse as they can be. We see Hispanics and think, they are all the same, when in reality in Mexico alone there are over 200 different ethnic groups, all extremely diverse.
God’s Word tells us in Acts 17:26-27 that God is sovereign in determining people’s location both geographically and temporally. And it tells us that His Sovereign determination in that placement has as its purpose them “seeking Him.” Therefore, (see I do have a point), what is our responsibility? I am amazed that God has brought the nations to us. And He has commissioned us to proclaim the Gospel and make disciples of every single people group, every ethnic group. So how will we respond? How will you respond? How will I respond?
By the way, since the wages of sin is death, will I be an illegal when I am in heaven? No, because of grace. But is this actually God granting me amnesty?