The parable of the good Samaritan is more than relevant for us today. Jesus Christ told that story to make a point that we are each other's keeper and should be just that. It is a simple yet profound and compelling story. A man was robbed and left to die, a priest and a Levite on their way to the temple saw the man and did nothing to help. Then the Samaritan of all people shows up, stops, and offers help.
From all indications whatever reason the priest and the Levite gave for not helping the man was not good enough and Jesus made it crystal clear that they failed to be a good neighbor to the man that was robbed.
Are you a good neighbor, or have you allowed fear, stereotypes, and prejudices to prevent you from being a good neighbor? Some of the stereotypes and prejudice are hidden behind justifications that make sense to us and others, but we cannot hide behind convenience, fear, and false humility to continue segregating ourselves from each other. The need ahead of the body of Christ is huge, and we cannot afford to stand on the sidelines and pretend to ourselves that these immigrants should sort out their mess. Some of these people ran away from disastrous situations and are hurting badly, and their wounds need to be cleaned, banded, and oiled. Somebody will have to pay the bills while he or she recovers.
Above all this cannot be done at arm’s length, there is a need for proximity and getting to truly knowing people and treat them with respect and honor and not just a project.
Let the action of the Good Samaritan inform us on how to proceed. He got off his donkey and allowed the man to use it while he walked on foot. This was just for a season and a short distance, but he did all within his power to ensure that the needs of this valuable man were met. Unfortunately, we have been taught to be so self-centered and to preserve our lives and dignity that it is extremely difficult to interact with other people in a way that will bring healing and restoration.
We should never forget that the immigrants of today are going to become the Americans of tomorrow. Therefore, we should reach out to them to equip them and give them the tools that are necessary for them to be successful so that all of us can have a prosperous future. While some may wish there were not here in the first place, we know that it is better to engage empower and equip because they are here to stay and will eventually become part of the fabric of the country.
Therefore, it is prudent for those of us who are already on the ground to be facilitators and empowerment agent, because all of us well benefit in the long wrong.
The other not so desirable alternative is to do nothing, but continue to build walls of segregation and separation, hide our heads in the sand pretend these people are not heard in the first place, with the hope that they will disappear, and we will move on with our lives without any disturbances and inconveniences. While waiting for this new problem to sort itself out, we complain and grumble and blame the immigrants for moving here in the first place. The following question is asked not because we want an answer, but to express our frustration and disdain. We ask, why did they not remain in their own country? Why did they move here? If you are truly interested in the answers to these questions, you will engage the immigrants with the best this country can offer because most of these immigrants are on a quest for freedom, equality, justice, and opportunities to be all they were created to be.
It takes a certain caliber of people to want it bad enough to pack and leave their countries of birth and move somewhere else, without any guarantees for success, coupled with all the risks and uncertainties involved.
Some people feel that those who pack and leave are sellouts because they would have stayed and resolved the problems in their countries of birth. Because they left some consider them to be cowards. This is something that we can debate all day, but the answer is more complicated, and it is not straightforward. It will be unfair to make a blanket statement that those who pack and leave are selling out or are cowards. First, some must move for their destinies to be made manifest. Therefore humans have always migrated and will continue to migrate. Secondly, we are all different, and each one of us has a unique assignment, and it is important that we have the freedom to pursue that assignment wherever it may lead us. There is no point distinguishing between the internal movement of people and the movement of people internationally because at the heart of this movement is the desire for change and improvement.
When we start looking at the movement of people from this perspective it will help us appreciate what is going on and who we relate to those that move into our communities.
If anybody dares to suggest that the immigrants who moved from Europe to the Americas were cowards for running away from Europe and not staying back to fight and fix his or her countries, he or she will be accused of committing sacrilege. Our history books are filled with bravery, tenacity, exploits, and achievements. Let us in the same light not forget that some of the immigrants that are arriving our shores today have the same fire for expansion, bravery, tenacity, and exploits in their veins and will move this great country to the next level. Therefore, it is in the best interest of all to engage and complement each other.
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