Mistreating The “Least of These”
By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published on October 31, 2018
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was my Sunday School teacher, pastor and Baptist Training Union instructor in Montgomery, Alabama during the early 1950s. One Bible verse King stressed repeatedly is found in Matthew 25:40 (King James Version): “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
The “least of these” are those persons who are vulnerable. They are the socially, psychologically, and economically disadvantaged, such as the sick, the poor, the hungry, the homeless, the mentally and physically disabled, and the downtrodden. Jesus cared about the needs of the poor. In fact, he identified with their needs, for he himself was poor and, during his three years of public ministry, homeless (cf. Matthew 8:20).
Given all of the hate speech that is dripping from the lips of President Donald J. Trump about the caravan of innocent men, women, and children from Central America who are escaping gang violence and abject poverty, and who are traveling to our Southern border to seek political asylum in a nation that professes to cherish Christian values, it is important to remember what the Bible teaches true Christians about the treatment of immigrants.
As expected, “lip-service” Christians are largely silent on Trump's treatment of immigrants. Dr. King described the nature of their duplicitous Christianity in his infamous August 1963 “Letter from the Birmingham Jail.”
Here is what the Bible says about our responsibility to immigrants.
From The Old Testament (New International Version):
17 “For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. 18 He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. 19 And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.” (Deuteronomy 10:17-19)
“Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt.” (Exodus 23:9)
33 “When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. 34 The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.” (Leviticus 19:33-34)
“The same law applies both to the native-born and to the foreigner residing among you.” (Exodus 12:49)
“Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.” (Zechariah 7:10)
“The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.” (Psalm 146:9)
4 “You have become guilty because of the blood you have shed and have become defiled by the idols you have made. You have brought your days to a close, and the end of your years has come. Therefore I will make you an object of scorn to the nations and a laughingstock to all the countries. 7 In you they have treated father and mother with contempt; in you they have oppressed the foreigner and mistreated the fatherless and the widow.” (Ezekiel 22:4, 7)
“’So I will come to put you on trial. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive the foreigners among you of justice, but do not fear me,’ says the Lord Almighty.” (Malachi 3:5)
5 “If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly,6 if you do not oppress the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm,7 then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your ancestors for ever and ever.” (Jeremiah 7:5-7)
“This is what the Lord says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place.” (Jeremiah 22:3)
19 “When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. 20 When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. 21 When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow.” (Deuteronomy 24:19-21)
“When you have finished setting aside a tenth of all your produce in the third year, the year of the tithe, you shall give it to the Levite, the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied.” (Deuteronomy 26:12)
From Jesus Christ:
35 “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?”
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:35-40)
From The Book Of Hebrews:
“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews 13:2)
And From Peter (on whom Christ bestowed the task of building His Church):
“Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.” (1 Peter 2:11)
Trump’s War on Immigrants of Color Betrays These Biblical Teaching
President Trump has declared war on immigrants of color. American soldiers will meet the migrant caravan from Central America at the Southern border and will turn them around, by any means necessary. Innocent men, women, and children will be needlessly harmed. The evil within Donald Trump will be on full display in front of the whole world.
What public policy initiative on immigration could possibly be greater than the Biblical teachings of Jesus Christ? Will you follow the leadership of Jesus Christ or Donald Trump on the subject of immigration? Is Donald Trump more important in your life than Jesus Christ?
Finally, why do so many Donald Trump-led Christians turn their backs on the Bible when it comes to immigration and matters of race?
PHOTO: Migrants from Central American. They will be met and turned around at the Southern border by American troops in what is expected to be Donald Trump's modern-day version of "Bloody Sunday."