We live in a nation divided over many subjects. We see the fabric of our “United” States being stretched and in danger of being irreparably torn. We need divine guidance, and we also need compassionate leaders committed to justice and mercy. History shows that, when nations lead with generosity and care, they prosper; when nations lead with hostility and hate, they unravel.
There was a time in our nation when we were so deceived by our own illusions that we justified the mistreatment and exploitation of an entire race of people. Even the terrible Civil War did not eradicate the root of that evil. Many years later, God raised up Martin Luther King Jr. to confront our sin and lead our nation into a different future. Even so, the thread of racism and elitism still permeates our nation. Laws that were designed to protect innocent people go by the wayside time and time again, exposing the diabolical forces of injustice.
Today, more than 800,000 “DREAMers” are at risk of deportation due to the threat that DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) may be rescinded. Congress has been given six months to arrive at a viable plan for dealing with this legislation. Failure to arrive at a workable solution will put many at peril and could break up many families. We unequivocally stand against the deportation of those who have been protected by DACA. We unashamedly stand with those caught in this misfortune. We cover them with our love and support.
Many are looking for political solutions. And our nation’s legislation is important. But, for the sake of our future, my prayer is that we will find a balance between law and mercy. There can be little debate that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob led a mercy revolution in the New Testament era, challenging the religious leaders of that time. It raised the value of the “least” among them and called for justice, compassion and inclusion. Jesus strengthened the Levitical command to love our neighbors when He placed it in proximity to His statement, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind” (Luke 10:27, NKJV).
I’m grateful to belong to a church movement that is more like a family than a denomination. We don’t “card” people coming through the door to see if they are sinners or saints, members or non-members, documented or undocumented. Scripture refers to houses of worship as “sanctuaries.” They are safe places that help mitigate our mistakes. They shout out that we are all recipients of God’s mercies, grace and forgiveness. They are to be houses of prayer and worship for all nations.
Jesus always prioritized those who were hurting, displaced, bound, blind and marginalized. He was cognizant of the law, but He led with the heart and the priority of God. I want to be on the side of mercy, not religion; compassion, not callousness. We cannot stand silent. We will speak out against injustice, and we will act according to God’s laws. We respect and submit to the laws of our land, but we will speak up and challenge them when they undermine God’s laws. Regardless of what earthly nations we belong to, we are all citizens of a heavenly kingdom.
We ask our government to provide a permanent, legislative solution for the DREAMers as soon as possible—one that will allow them to continue to work, study and contribute in meaningful ways to their communities and the nation. We also ask our government to provide a clear path toward their obtaining legal status in the U.S. DREAMers were brought to this country as children, and most of them know no other home. They are now living in fear and uncertainty due to their lack of legal status. We support them and welcome them home in Christ!
We encourage pastors and leaders to get acquainted with the issues and the laws, and the pathways by which the voices of DREAMers may be heard. Please take the time to engage in the resources, prayer and scriptures provided below.
The following are resources that may be helpful as you prayerfully, spiritually, strategically and skillfully navigate these critical issues:
Website: The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, led by former Foursquare Connection speaker Samuel Rodriguez.
Book: Christians at the Border: Immigration, the Church, and the Bible by M. Daniel Carroll R.
This prayer from President Glenn Burris Jr. will guide you as you pray for all of those affected by this issue and for those entrusted with decisions that will determine legislative outcomes.
Father, we first ask for the protection of the many families deeply affected by the recent DACA ruling. We pray against the fear and anxiety that are rising in their hearts and minds. May the peace of God rule their hearts. We pray for wisdom, protection and provision. We speak love, grace and mercy over them today as our family. In the midst of unbelievable uncertainty and pain, bring them comfort by Your Spirit. Give them hope for the future. We also pray for those tasked with legislation. We ask that You empower them to lead with humility, justice, mercy and kindness. Let them take action that is motivated by those characteristics instead of fear and protectionism. May the wisdom and compassion of God rule our nation. We pray this in Jesus’s name.
This powerful passage of scripture outlines God’s priorities for us and His accompanying blessing when we follow them.
Isaiah 58:6-9 (NIV)
“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? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and He will say: Here am I.”