photo by CP
I gave it 24 hours. I really did. I slept on it. I've debated and deliberated what, if anything, I would say.
I've been on fire since yesterday morning over the newest immigration law to come down, this one in Alabama, this one that contains a measure that, among other things, "makes it a crime to knowingly give an undocumented immigrant a ride."
It's a beautiful Saturday in June. You're busy. I'm busy. I'm not even a little bit interested in discussing the miry, complicated mess that is immigration. Not even a little bit. I kept waiting for someone else to say something, but if this has been said, I've missed it.
For the past few decades, there has been a persistent, droning buzz in my ears about where this nation is headed. The volume was turned up nearly three years ago and the hand-wringing took on a feverish intensity. Our liberties will be gone soon, our very rights are being eroded away. Socialism. Communism (!). Hell-in-a-hand basket.
Therefore, I expected to hear/see/read an outcry from people in Alabama yesterday. I watched my Twitter feed, I looked in on Facebook, skimmed headlines ... Is it not clear to anyone else that our brothers and sisters in Christ in Alabama are now standing uncovered by our nation's laws should they choose to practice a key component of The Great Commandment? That very straightforward, very unquestionably painful part about loving our neighbors as we love ourselves?
Oh, but how easy it is to not see Them as neighbors. They're here illegally, after all. How easy it is to breeze past that old Levitical law where God seems to make clear that His people should show evidence of their holiness (set-apartness) by not mistreating aliens and foreigners. Oh, and P.S. - love them as you love yourself.
When Jesus was pressed to answer the question, "Who is my neighbor?" he told the story of the Good Samaritan where the despised, wretched Other attended to the needs of the fine, upstanding Jewish man in need. And who is it was who was the neighbor? The one who showed mercy.
In our culture, we don't often come upon beaten-up travelers left for dead on the side of the road. No, it's much more common to come across people who are doing the best they can in the life circumstance they have found themselves in who just need to bum a ride from you. We can offer mercy and extend grace when we open that car door.
When a person is told by the lawmakers they elected to govern their state that it is now illegal to offer a ride in your vehicle to someone you know to be here illegally, it suddenly becomes a whole lot easier to see someone as a non-entity rather than as Neighbor.
There are people in my family, there are people who I go to church with, there are people whom I love dearly who believe that the time of persecution of the American church is upon us. And hey, maybe it is. But on June 9, 2011, when Governor Bentley signed this law, all of those shimmery, hazy prophetic skeletons on the horizon speaking of the collapse of freedom for Christ-followers in our country suddenly became a little more flesh-and-blood.
My hope and prayer is that the Body of Christ alive and active in the people of Alabama will rise to the occasion here. I pray that in the very state where David Platt and the Church at Brook Hills are leading the Radical movement, that there will be an uprising of voices loudly speaking of compassion, mercy, and love.
May all of us, no matter where we live, be reminded that the lives and stories of others are precious and valuable, and we are to esteem everyone with the dignity they deserve as image bearers of God.
comments are open as long as everyone can be kind and respectful