Drop the I-word

In Uncategorized on December 17, 2010 at 7:27 pm

I cringe every time I hear someone use the term illegal in describing someone created in God’s image. Yes, some people break man’s law (many doing it justifiably in my opinion), and come into this country without legal permission, but EVERYONE one of us breaks God’s law…often on a daily basis. Would we like our “sins” to be hyphenated to the front of our name? I don’t think so. Moreover the word illegal carries with it such a horrible message about the person’s very existence. Perhaps we need to extend the same grace showed to us by God on a daily basis to others. Perhaps we need to drop all the words we put before people’s names. You may not call people “illegals”, but perhaps you put “jerk”, “slut”, “no-good”, “annoying”, “stupid” or any other derogatory description before someone else’s name. I know that I myself am guilty of doing this.

We have all got to stop. If everyone on this earth was created by God, then we are all God’s children. With that in mind no person deserves to be called illegal. They are mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, grandmothers, singles, families, and communities who have immigrated here. They are more similar to us than dissimilar. In fact their story is in some ways very similar to the One I serve. Remember that Jesus, Mary and Joseph had to flee to another country and hide out illegally because Jesus’ life was being threatening by King Herod.

I think when we feel comfortable calling someone “illegal” it is a great sign of how our community and personal relationships have broken down. It is a sign that we are not living out the kingdom of God as we should. Because clearly we are not in any close relationship with any immigrants. Our lives are not being joined with them in friendship. Trust me once you get to know anyone that you may have called “illegal” before, you will not continue to do so, because you get to know them. You come to understand them, and God-willing you come to care for them. And then you cannot imagine calling that beautiful person something so degrading. Instead they become your brother or sister. They become what could have just as easily been you if you had been born in a different country.


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