Last weekend my housemates and I went on a trip to Tucson, AZ for a long weekend. We travelled down with an organization called Borderlinks to learn about and witness firsthand the issue of illegal immigration. Before the trip, I thought that it would be the perfect opportunity to learn about border issues and to decide where I stand on the issue.
We were asked to blog and share about our experience. Before the trip, I thought this would be an easy task. How silly of me. Unfortunately, things are never black and white. Because of that, this blog may seem a bit like an excerpt from a James Joyce novel, with no clear direction or focus. I saw and heard so much over the course of the weekend that it will take me a long time to process and further research. My heart and brain are both muddled messes right now. I cannot at this point say where I stand on the issue, but I invite you to join my internal conflict.
Imagine with me for a minute: Travelling by foot through desert into a new land. To a country with a language you don’t speak or understand. Leaving family, friends, customs, comfort and security behind. You may not even really like the country you are going to. You simply know that you have a better chance of being able to support your family in this new foreign place. You barely have enough to feed your children each day, let alone pay for an emergency doctor visit or prescription.
Now, imagine a second scenario: You are a recently laid off father of four (living in the States your whole life). You aren’t necessarily a “skilled worker” and now you can’t find a job paying more than $9.00 an hour because there are plenty of individuals in your city more than willing to work for this rate. You have a mortgage, car payments, a credit card and really hope to send your kids to college.
How do I look at this issue with the eyes of Christ? He says to love my neighbor. Which ones? It seems to me what may help one neighbor here may hurt another. Or is this stupid worthless worry?
Do I show my love to my neighbor by taking down all fences and walls?
But aren’t boundaries and fences sometimes good and necessary? (Think of fences around swimming pools that keep kids from drowning.)
Am I to give amnesty to all people living in the country without papers?
What about my brothers and sisters who have been waiting for 14+ years to enter my country legally?
How much will that delay their entry?
So…. If I don’t know where I stand, how do I get involved? Am I called to be involved?
How many issues can I be involved in at one time and earnestly care?
…. I don’t know.
I don’t have an answer, and I’m not sure I will for a long time (if ever).
In the meantime, I know that it is my job to help those in need. To give a brother or sister their daily food if they are in need. To walk alongside. To love. But above all this, to continue seeking Christ first.
Lord, give me your eyes for the world. Help me see where you want me to serve and help me to always see my neighbors in need.