What the Bible Says About How to Treat Refugees

12 verses about loving immigrants, refugees and displaced people.

BY JESSE CAREY GOD November 17, 2015

Immigration continues to be one of the most politically polarizing issues in America. The topic of immigration policy has been a staple of recent presidential debates, and has even divided some members of the Church.

After recent terrorist attacks, new debates have arisen about how America and other wealthy nations should accept refugees from the war-ravaged nation of Syria.

The issue of immigration reform is nuanced, and policies are often legislatively complex. But the wisdom of the Bible is both simple and timeless.

Here are 12 passages that discuss how Christians should treat immigrants, refugees and those in need of help.

Love Refugees As Yourself
When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. (Leviticus 19:33-34)

Leave Food for the Poor and the Foreigner
When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. (Leviticus 19:9-10)

God Loves the Foreigner Residing Among You
He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt. (Deuteronomy 10:18-19)

The Sin of Sodom: They Did Not Help the Poor and Needy
Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. (Ezekiel 16:49)

Do Not Oppress a Foreigner
Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt. (Exodus 23:9)

Do Not Deprive Foreigners Among You of Justice
“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)

Do Whatever the Foreigner Asks of You
“As for the foreigner who does not belong to your people Israel but has come from a distant land because of your name— for they will hear of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm—when they come and pray toward this temple, then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Do whatever the foreigner asks of you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your own people Israel, and may know that this house I have built bears your Name. (1 Kings 8:41-44)

Leave Your Door Open to the Traveler
No stranger had to spend the night in the street, for my door was always open to the traveler (Job, discussing his devotion to God) (Job 31:32)

Invite the Stranger In
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, 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.’ (Matthew 25:25-36)

We Were All Baptized By One Spirit
Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. (1 Corinthians 12:12-14)

Love Your Neighbor as Yourself
For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5:14)

Have Mercy on Your Neighbor
He asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:29-37)

JESSE CAREY

Jesse Carey is an editor at RELEVANT and a mainstay on the weekly RELEVANT Podcast. He lives in Virginia Beach with his wife and two kids.

5 thoughts on “What the Bible Says About How to Treat Refugees

  1. Please fix the typos – “12 verses about loving 12 verses about loving immigrants, refugees and displaced people.”

  2. And two weeks after the refugees arrival a couple of them go into a restaurant murdering YOUR wife and children in a terrorist attack….I wonder if you’d go back and study your Bible quotes to see if you got them right. Although Google is a powerful tool the Holy Spirit is more powerful. Pray for wisdom Jesse, God gives it freely.

  3. Hold up though. Pump the brakes. NOWHERE in Scripture did God EVER tell the Israeli people to just accept refugees. ANYONE that was going to live in Israel HAD to abide by their laws, which were governed by God. So that meant the Sabbath and many other things. They COULD NOT bring their false gods and idol worship with them into Israel, no matter how bad the situation was that they were fleeing.

    These Scriptures quoted in this article are TERRIBLY taken OUT OF CONTEXT. JESUS, help us!!!!!!! My God, there are plenty of verse that contradict what the article’s author is promoting.

    Leviticus 18:26
    Ye shall therfore keep my statutes and my judgments and shall not commit any of these abominations, neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you. (The verse prior to this mention all kinds of things like incest, bestiality and the like. Read the whole chapter).

    Leviticus 17: 12
    Therefore I said unto the children of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood.

    Exodus 20:10
    But he seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thous shalt not d any work, thou, nor thy son, nor they daughter thy manservant, nor thy maidservant,n or thy cattle,nor thy stranger that is within thy gates.

    Exodus 12:48-49
    And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the LORD, let all his amls be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof. One law shall be to him that homeborn and not the stranger than sojourneth among you.

    Leviticus 20:2
    Again, thou shalt say to the children of Israel, Whosoever he be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that giveth any of his seed unto Molech; he shall surely be put to death: the people of the land shall stone him with stones.

    Leviticus 24:16
    And he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the Lord, shall be put to death.

    Now, we need to know our Scripture. Many of these people, and I know that they are coming from a bad situation, but they are NOT abandoning their gods and they are probably not going to loyal to the USA. They are looking to get out of a bad situation. This is so similar to own situation with our sins. If a person is only coming to God to get out of a bad situation and not truly coming to HIM in repentance and allegiance to Him, then he.is.not.saved!

    We have to be careful about having pity on people and being moved only be our emotions.

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