Who Acted Like a Neighbor?

The painful plight of 48 men, women and children who became human pawns in a political stunt by the Florida Governor forces us to listen to the disturbing question Jesus asked at the end of the parable of the Good Samaritan, “Which of these was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” (Luke 10:30) A friend, following the story, texted me, “It’s hard to a locate a Christian spirit in any of this.”

The answer to Jesus’ question and the place to locate a Christian spirit was with the people of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Edgertown.

Venezuelan migrants stand outside St. Andrew’s Church in Edgartown, Massachusetts, U.S. September 14, 2022. Ray Ewing/Vineyard Gazette/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY – RC26HW96GRF

They opened their doors to welcome people who had been lured onto planes (funded to the tune of $615,000 by Florida tax payers) with fake promises of places to live and work. With no warning that the migrants were coming, church and community leaders “banded together as an island community to really do something miraculous,” said St. Andrew’s rector, the Rev. Chip Seadale.

They put into practice the command from the Old Testament book of Leviticus which could be where Jesus got “the golden rule.”

“When a foreigner lives with you in your land, don’t take advantage of him. Treat the foreigner the same as a native. Love him like one of your own. Remember that you were once foreigners in Egypt. I am God, your God.” (Leviticus 19:33-34)

True Christians vs Faux Christians

Responding to this story, my colleague and friend, Steve Harper, wrote that True Christians along with people of other faiths or no particularly faith at all, were “opening their hearts and rolling up their sleeves to welcome and care for immigrants stepping off airplanes in places they did not even know they were going to.”

By contrast, Steve wrote that Faux Christians, “wearing their MAGA hats, waving their flags, and carrying their ‘Jesus Saves’ posters, are celebrating their imperialist political leaders’ demagogic campaign to ‘get them out of here’ that turns human beings into disposable cargo.”

Steve concluded, “Jesus was correct, ‘You will know them by their fruits.’ It’s not hard to spot the waxed fruit.”

Immigration issues are horrendously complex. Congress has failed to solve the problems in the system for decades. But in the messy matrix of our politically polarized culture, it’s refreshing to see followers of Jesus who act like it!

Grace and peace,

Jim

To take a deeper dive into this subject, I recommend: https://johnpavlovitz.com/2022/09/16/how-the-religious-right-made-cruelty-sacred-and-compassion-unchristian/.

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9 thoughts on “Who Acted Like a Neighbor?

  1. Thank you, Jim. Outstanding.
    Paul Leeland

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Thanks for helping me shift my focus from the evildoers in this heartbreaking story to the good neighbors.

    I can’t help thinking of Joseph saying to his brothers who had put him on a jet to Egypt, “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good…”

  3. Thank you, Jim. Keep writing! You are so good at expressing exactly how I feel. Love you!! Sandy

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  4. Amen, Jim!

  5. Couldn’t agree more!

    1. Say it Jim! If God is with us, who or what, could be against us.
      God Bless You!

  6. Amen. So well said. Thank you.

  7. It is very disappointing to see you choose a Bible verse and use it to justify your political ideology. Interestingly, and ironically, far-left, pro-abortion governor, Gavin Newsom is using a similar passage to justify abortion on demand. Yes, he is buying billboards in selected states to encourage women to come to California to have their abortions. On those billboards, he quotes Mark 12:31, in a sick attempt to suggest that abortion is an act of love. Similarly, you quoted Luke 10:30 to slam our good governor’s relocation of 48 illegal immigrants to the sanctuary city of Martha’s Vineyard.

    Jim, you have a great platform to raise awareness of horrific issues facing us. But you chose 58 illegal immigrants on a plane flight, rather than the life altering impacts of Biden’s open border. These include the two-million illegals pouring across our borders just this year, overwhelming the resources of the small border towns; human trafficking by the cartels; huge amounts of fentanyl trafficked in, making overdose deaths the leading cause of death for the 25-40 age demographic; the 57 immigrants who suffocated in the back of a truck; untold immigrants who have died trying to cross the river; 78 terrorists caught coming across (how many have not been caught?). And, where was your blog as Biden relocated over 900 aircraft of illegals throughout the country in the darkness of night?

    Those are just some of the border issues. I also have not seen any of your blogs speak truth to power regarding the 63 million abortions since the original Roe ruling in 1973. Or the grotesque chemical and surgical disfigurement of minor children, often without parental permission, in an evil attempt to address “gender dysphoria”. How about the sex trafficking right here in our community? Or the tragedy and the evil that awaits too many Native American women? Why the silence on these issues? Wouldn’t you agree that there are numerous Biblical passages that address these issues?

    These are not MAGA issues, or Faux Christian issues, or waxed fruit issues. These are real-life evils that face us today, and that we should be leading the fight against.

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