Christians, Politics, and Christ’s Love

Occasionally I’ll write on the Christian’s responsibility in the political process. Today, my interest was piqued by a friend who brought up the topic of illegal immigration. How should a Christian respond to this issue?

It’s certainly more complicated than giving them all amnesty or shipping them all back. We like to make the world black and white, but life is rarely so easily juxtaposed. As Christ-followers, it’s a good idea to look to Christ for our example.

If we’re all made in God’s image (Gen. 1), it would seem logical for us to have compassion regardless of whether people look, dress, or speak the same way we do. Looking in the Gospels, Christ was consistently found with the “least of these.” The hurting, the oppressed, the sick, the lost – they were all genuinely loved by Christ.

Those are just two examples of a rich collection (love your neighbor, mercy, grace, etc…) of Scripture that could speak to this issue. Clearly, as a Christian, there is a calling to love the immigrant as we would love anyone else. But, here is where things get tricky.

A Christian’s responsibility does not necessarily directly correlate with national policy. America is not a theocracy. We are called to love every single immigrant. We should give them the shirt off our backs. But, that is as individuals and as churches. If we were to adopt that policy nationally (any poor person just come here, we’ll support you), we would bankrupt and put everyone in that situation. This does not mean we have no part in the political process, but it does mean that our primary expression of faith is not fighting for specific legislation.

My point is not that there should be no reform. I’ll be honest. I don’t even pretend to begin to know the outcomes of all the possible policy angles. We should certainly stay informed and vote our conscience, but I think the church misses out when we completely rely on politics.

If we feel illegal immigrants should be loved unconditionally, love them, provide for them, and help them become legal. If you think abortion is murder, begin loving some teenagers in your community, get involved in their lives, and help them make better decisions. If you believe we need to send aid to a certain country, have your church start a ministry there.

Certainly, we need legislation, but that is not our sole or even primary responsibility. Think of the goldmine of resources, talent, time, imagination, wealth, and creativity that resides in our churches nationwide. Imagine the beautiful stories we could hear if we took our convictions of faith and began living them out. We don’t have to beg and plead for people or politicians to do something. If we are the hands and feet of Christ, what does that look like in our communities? Christ didn’t come as an earthly king. He came to seek and to save what was lost. Stay engaged in politics, but ask God how He could use you and your church to love the immigrants, the hurting, the broken, the struggling, the lost, and the unloved.

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15 Comments

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15 responses to “Christians, Politics, and Christ’s Love

  1. Amanda

    Now this is a good blog post. Good job, Matt.

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  3. Chris

    Wow, way to tackle such a touchy subject for a lot of people. Before Christ, I thought they should all be sent back home at all costs. Since Christ, I haven’t felt that way. This world and earthly things are of less importance to me now and I agree with the example in your blog. If we are to be more like Christ we should be doing everything possible to help these people. Great blog Matt, really got me thinking about this.

    • Thanks Chris. Funny how perspective changes right? It’s very easy to say send em all home or make them all citizens, but regardless of national policy, we are ambassadors of Christ and representing him means loving people without condition.

  4. sarah chirino

    Great Matt! You managed to put into words what I have been trying for years to express! I needed this post for my Poli-sci class at NCSU, lol. Thanks for bringing on such a touchy subject!
    Sarah

    • Haha. I’ve been there before with the class thing. It’s like on You’ve Got Mail where the girl can never think of a zinger until after she’s done with the argument. Thanks for commenting and we’re praying for you guys and Madison!

  5. I love you. I love this post. I love your passion.

  6. Amanda P.

    Another thought about this post that came to me when I read it again: It really comes down to seeing one another through Christ and the Gospel. Like eye glasses. You’ve mentioned that “everyone deserves a second chance, not to mention a first”. This is so true on a horizontal level; from one human to another. What unites us all is the fact that no human, regardless of status, deserves what God has provided through Christ. God doesn’t owe us a first chance. But we have one. He provided that because he loves us. As believers, how can we treat others without grace, knowing the magnitude that has been given to us? This is what Jesus was talking about when he told this story:

    Matthew 18:23-35

    Something I have to remember everyday.

    • I can’t take credit for that quote…came with the picture. But you’re right. If we have received unconditional love, we have unconditional love to give. I wish we could all see people through God’s eyes. I’m sure there are many people I encounter on a daily basis that I just look past that if I looked at them through God’s eyes…I would stop.

  7. This is a great post. My husband and I used to be in the “send them all back, don’t take any prisoners” camp. But as we grow in our relationship with Christ, He continues to soften our hearts. It makes me sad to think of some of the things I have said and felt towards other people.

    Regarding government responsibility, my opinion is that if the church was functioning the way it was intended, as a body, there wouldn’t be any need for government assistance. And like you said, we wouldn’t have to beg and plead for politicians to get involved.

    • Love your last thought. It’s probably impossible to eliminate poverty/hunger/etc. all together, but imagine the relief on our country if churches (meaning the people in them) went out of their way to find people jobs/provide temporary relief… I know there are plenty of churches doing that so I don’t want to overlook that, but as a whole we have a long way to go.

  8. “if only…” if only church would really be the church God intends her to be. the “body” is not very good at listening to the “head.”

  9. So true. Churches all the time talking about being the body of Christ, but it’s like a headless body just wandering around unless we’re asking for His direction each day on how to love the people in our communities.

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