Which Story is True? Below is an anonymous response to my previous post. While I generally do not publish anonymous comments, I’m including this person’s comments here because they help to illustrate the importance of a story in expressing our worldview. As you read it, ask yourself what this story says about the worldview of the writer. Does it express a Christian worldview? Why? Or why not? Then afterward, I’ll give you my reactions.
The issue of illegal immigration could be likened to you having a spare bedroom in your home you hope to fill with a paid housekeeper. Before you find the housekeeper a man and his family move into your room without your permission. Seeing you are more wealthy than they are, they expect you to provide for all their worldly needs, including, food, clothing, medical bills, housing, etc. They plan to live there indefinitely in exactly the same way. They won't work for you, because they'd rather not. They won't learn your language because they'd rather not. They won't leave because you're a Christian, and you're expected to love them, and care for all their needs, expecting nothing in return. All the other Christians are telling you that you're doing the right thing by showing them this hospitality and love. So they stay with you until your dying day. End of story.
What are the Problems? Now, let’s go back to the beginning of this poor soul’s comments and see if we are looking at them in the same way.
The issue of illegal immigration could be likened to you having a spare bedroom in your home you hope to fill with a paid housekeeper.
A Different Worldview. Right off we can see that this person has a different worldview than that of a true Christian. Why? Because here the writer assumes that the house is his or her own property. In contrast, Christians consider that God is the owner of the house and that we are only His stewards. As Christians, we remember that everything we have comes from God, including the privilege of living in this land.
Before you find the housekeeper a man and his family move into your room without your permission.
But that’s not exactly the way it happened. On the contrary, permission has been granted by many in various ways, both overtly and tacitly. Over the past twenty years many people have come to live among us, with little protest by us as citizens until rather recently. Meanwhile, most of us have benefitted from the labor of these immigrants to build our homes, manicure our lawns, serve us in restaurants, and provide us low priced produce through their labors in our fields. And while we benefitted from their presence, they got married, settled down, bought houses and cars, and brought millions of innocent children into the world.
Meanwhile, from heaven’s view, God is the one who allows people to move “to and fro” on the face of the earth. While nations have a limited right to govern the lands entrusted to them, ultimately God is the one in charge. When He sees that a few are wealthy and well fed while millions starve, He in His permissive will allows peoples to move to new lands. This has happened many times over the centuries and today more people are displaced from their places of birth than ever before in history.
Seeing you are more wealthy than they are, they expect you to provide for all their worldly needs, including, food, clothing, medical bills, housing, etc. They plan to live there indefinitely in exactly the same way. They won't work for you, because they'd rather not.
Inaccurate Generalizations. Here too, this version of the story isn’t completely accurate from a Christian perspective. For one thing, not all twelve million undocumented immigrants have this kind of attitude or act this way. On the contrary, those who do are in the minority. Reading this description makes me wonder how many undocumented immigrants the writer of these comments actually knows personally. Most immigrants that I know are hard working, pay their taxes faithfully, and do the best they can to fulfill their obligations as much as they can under the circumstances.
They won't learn your language because they'd rather not.
This is Generally Not the Case. This comment too that makes me wonder if the writer knows many immigrants. Most of those that I know are trying to learn English (Learning a second language as an adult is not easy. I know! I have had to work very hard at it myself and still haven’t arrived). Many immigrants are making great progress. Plus nearly all their children are totally bilingual. Why do these immigrants work so hard at learning English? Because nearly everyone one of them I know dreams of becoming an American citizen someday and of fitting into this country and culture.
They won’t leave because you’re a Christian, and you’re expected to love them, and care for all their needs, expecting nothing in return. All the other Christians are telling you that you’re doing the right thing by showing them this hospitality and love. So they stay with you until your dying day. End of story.
Partly True, and Eternally False. Here, on one hand, I have to agree to a point. Our Father in heaven asks us to love strangers, sojourners, marginalized people and innocent children, and care for all those who have needs while expecting nothing in return from them. This is the example that Jesus gave us. On the other hand, for Christians, if we live this way, the day we die physically will not be the end of the story. Rather, it will be the beginning of a new and eternal life in God’s heavenly kingdom.
So you see, the immigration debate is very much about our worldview, whether Christian or otherwise, and the stories we tell. What story are you telling, and how do you see yourself fitting into it?