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"According to Scripture..."

Published on 9th August 2019

If Christian Scripture is how you decide who to love and who not to,

If Christian Scripture is your guiding force for who deserves protection, human decency, or value,

Let me tell you a story.

When Ruth approaches Boaz in Ruth 3, she doesn’t have the law on her side to ensure her protection. The gleaning law provided her food, until the harvest was over. The Levirite law provided her a husband, if her husband’s brother hadn’t also died. Technically, Naomi had protection through relatives, not Ruth. The Redeemer or Next-of-kin law protects the family land to stay in the family. Ruth is also a foreigner, and technically none of these laws provide her any legal protection. No one is obligated within the law to make sure she has safety or security.

There are at least 3 ways of being in relationship in the biblical contexts: A covenant relationship obligates people to fulfill certain requirements. A mercy/compassion relationship involves one person receiving something they don’t deserve; it’s a gift. And a khesed relationship (translated: faithfulness, grace, lovingkindness) involves a moral/ethical obligation to do the right thing by someone, even if it is not clearly defined in the legal realm.

Ruth arrives to Boaz in the only area she has power - a scandalous one at the threshing floor - and advocates for her human right to have protection, security, safety, and life free of fear. Boaz, while not constrained by the legal relationship, or covenant relationship, leans into the khesed relationship, and strives to fulfill a moral/ethical obligation to her. He has the power she lacks. He can go where she cannot. And he can choose whether or not to welcome her, or exploit her. Whether or not to name her with value, or name her as an inconvenience needing to be erased.

The Christian Scriptures continue, with Boaz doing what he can to welcome the foreigner, keep family together, and provide safety and security for the vulnerable in his society and country.

Those with power, throughout Scripture, are asked to use it to provide safety, hospitality, and care for those without power. For the traveler, the foreigner. Especially the little children.

If you are using the Christian Scripture to promote an immigration policy that rips families apart, upholds laws we wrote over the bodies and livelihood of living, breathing persons, you are missing the heart, the point, and the message of the Christian Scriptures.