What does the Bible say about immigrants?

Bryant Golden Blog

Immigration is a hot-button topic that’s usually in the spotlight of political debates. However, whether someone should or should not be in your country is no excuse to dehumanize or mistreat them. The Bible is explicitly clear on this issue, yet many of those who call themselves Christians completely disregard and mistreat those who are strangers in their land.

The question this article is centered around is “What does the Bible say about immigrants?” Well, as it turns out, a lot. Here are some examples: 

“Don’t abuse or take advantage of strangers; you, remember, were once strangers in Egypt.”

  • Exodus 22:21 (MSG)

Even in the Old Testament, where we see a lot of violence and many confusing old laws that don’t make much sense to us today, we see that the Israelites valued the sojourners in their land. This isn’t the only book in the Old Testament where we are instructed to care for the outsiders in our communities. We see this in Deuteronomy, Leviticus, 1 Chronicles, Job, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and more.

Then enters Jesus and the New Testament:

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:

I was hungry and you fed me,

I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,

I was homeless and you gave me a room,

I was shivering and you gave me clothes,

I was sick and you stopped to visit,

I was in prison and you came to me.’

“Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me — you did it to me.”

  • Matthew 25:34-40 (MSG)

Many of those who immigrate, legally or not, find themselves in harsh conditions with little in terms of food, clothing or support. The question of whether they should be here at all is a different issue than the issue of taking care of them. Yes, taking care of others costs money. Yes, it takes time and effort. Yes, we don’t get anything in return. But, this isn’t the point. The point is to see Christ in them, to see them as inherently valuable people and to love and care for them as strangers in our land. 

For reference of other scriptures in the Bible pertaining to strangers in your land, the Sojourners ministry has compiled a helpful list

If you are wondering what it means to authentically follow Jesus, join us on Unfiltered Radio as we investigate who He claimed to be and how He taught us to interact with one another.