Loving your neighbor

Across the border and across the street


As America’s immigration policies have come under intense debate, criticism and scrutiny in recent weeks, the Bible has been part of the nationwide discussion.

While speaking about the Trump administration’s enforcement of a controversial “zero-tolerance” policy to separate immigrant parents from their children, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions referenced Romans 13, about obeying the laws of government.

We’re not about to debate theology in this space — nor can we propose the solution to America’s complicated and broken immigration system in these 500 words.

What we would like to do is offer a reminder about another Bible verse for our deeply divided country: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

In Mark 12, Jesus called that the second-greatest commandment. Jesus lived out those words during his time on Earth, showing love to everyone — and especially children and those who were poor, weak or outcasts. His words are just as important today as they were 2,000 years ago.

Not only does loving your neighbor apply to people from other countries, it’s how we should treat our fellow Americans.

That means not taking to social media with name-calling, bullying or worse. It also means treating one another with respect and kindness, whether someone is liberal, conservative or somewhere in between. It’s about sharing a conversation or a meal with someone, regardless of what they believe or how they vote.

The latest immigration controversy has brought out the worst in Americans, as many issues have in recent years.

On each side, Americans have doubled down in their respective battlefronts, vehemently defending their positions on the right or left. Belittling the other side with harassment and asking someone to leave a restaurant only deepens the divides even more.

Many of us remain in the middle, watching as the loudest voices on both sides ramp up their rhetoric, whether the topic is immigration, firearms, abortion, North Korea, and the list goes on.

When it comes to immigration and border security, America has a lot of work to do, but it should start with reuniting immigrant families who have been separated; we’re glad President Donald Trump reversed course and signed an executive order last week to halt family separations at the border. On Tuesday, a federal judge ordered that all families separated must be reunited within 30 days or 14 days for children younger than 5.

For America to move forward on immigration and a host of other issues, we have to be able to respect one another, listen to each other and find some common ground.

That’s why we’re reminded of the words spoken long ago by a man in the Middle East, who was once a refugee seeking shelter in a foreign country: Love your neighbor.