When I was a kid, I thought being “good” was pretty easy. You just had to be nice, do nice things and not swear.
But, as I discovered, things get more complicated as you get older.
Currently, I’m finding myself torn on a big issue. Immigration.
Let me say first that I am horrified for people, Christian or not, trying to escape the nightmare of ISIS. Or any other terror group. I can’t imagine what it must be like to wake up daily wondering if you’ll be the next to die. If I should acquiesce to save my family. If I should work to help others escape, heal, hide. These cannot be easy decisions under the circumstances.
As Pope Francis says, so many are truly in need of our help. I want to help those in true need, and I want others to help them as well.
But I don’t want to help those using this situation as a way to spread evil as a by product of my charity. And, again, I’ll be honest. I do truly believe there are terrorists posing as refugees to spread fear to the global community. Based on what we’ve seen since 9/11, this is classic terror strategy.
None of us want to be “chumps,” playing into the hands of those who would destroy our culture, religion and traditions while forwarding a type of living that enslaves the people of the world to madness. We’ve heard what’s happening in Germany. We’re watching other Western countries battle between their beliefs and the safety of their own. Let’s be honest : all Ameticans should be fearful if they aren’t already.
But perhaps not as fearful as those living in the midst of pure evil. I don’t blame the refugees for running. Even the so called able bodied men – there are certainly some who are not terrorists. But I do wish we could some how look into their hearts to see their true intentions. How do you determine need from a desire to destroy liberty? No one has the resources to interview every refugee effectively enough to quell the threat. How do we show compassion without sacrificing other innocents to death?
I wonder sometimes if our ancestors and grandparents felt this way during other mass waves of immigration. Did Americans feel their country would lose its identity as floods of Germans, Slavs, Irish and Italians “invaded” in the late 1800s and early 1900s?
I think about my father’s family, many of who immigrated to the US following World War II. My grandfather, separated from his family, got here from Germany first. I can’t imagine what Americans thought of Germans -they probably called them Nazis- coming here. My father, grandmother and aunt came 16 years later, after finally receiving a visa from Communist Romania, where they had been trapped.
I can’t imagine what Americans thought of a Gulag survivor and her teen children who couldn’t speak a word of English, and had never known true freedom. Yet they learned English, became naturalized citizens, reunited with my grandfather, finished school, went to college, got jobs and became amazing Ametican citizens. Is it possible that potential is in these other refugees? Could it be they truly want freedom as well?
I just don’t know. Yet I realize the God I love demands my compassion. My fear likely doesn’t matter to Him at all. My desire to be practical, to separate the wheat from the chafe so to speak, is probably not in his playbook.
It’s seems being nice isn’t as easy as I thought it was as a kid. I pray God helps me to understand this dilemma. That our leaders are wiser than they have shown to be so far. But mostly, I pray for peace. And miracles.