Dear Immigrant, Refugee, Marginalized, Rejected, Stranger, and Those Different From Me:
I’m a white, female, 20-something, privileged and sheltered Christian.
I loathe politics, and I struggle to fit into any political party. People close to me know politics make me queasy.
But seeing your pain and the dissension around us has made me even more queasy.
I tried to bury my head in the sand, but I know God calls me to something more.
I’m not even sure this is the proper forum for this because deep pain, differences, formal positions, and convictions are often intensely personal, complicated and best discussed face to face, heart to heart.
Even as I pen this letter to you, my words will still get some of it wrong. My letter is incomplete, messy, maybe incoherent.
Yet I hope, even if you vehemently disagree with me, you see my heart is exploding with love for you, and all sides right now, even if I am disgusted or confused or disappointed or appalled or annoyed or angry about recent decisions.
In a similar vein, it’s important for me to (try to) extend grace to all sides, even when I’m currently at a loss about what’s happening.
I won’t pretend to have the words or an accurate understanding of politics or the effects. I’m extremely naive and blinded by my privilege.
I have no political experience.
I’ve never written an executive order.
I’ve never tried to create large-scale policy.
I’ve only ever lived in my country of origin.
I’ve rarely been singled out.
I’ve never been told I cannot return home.
I’ve never left for a trip and been indefinitely excluded and rejected, away from my loved ones or life as I know it.
I do not write to bash our Executive and his team. While I’ve never been in politics, I suspect it’s often lonely.
I’m also not convinced I fully understand the present immigration situation. At times, certain media sources frustrate me, although I’m extremely thankful for access to and those who deliver information. I suspect this is also a really tough job.
But the foregoing realities do not limit me in saying the following:
I’m a Christian, and I write to say I’m sorry.
I am so sorry for how I’ve misrepresented Jesus Christ.
As much as I want to be a vehicle for Jesus, I fall remarkably short.
I get comfortable, lazy, and sometimes feel unaffected or apathetic.
I am without excuse.
Yet my heart breaks for those who are recently hurting: refugees, strangers, marginalized, immigrants, those who have been shut out from returning to their families, homes, and lives, those who are very different from me or my faith.
I believe systems and processes can be helpful, particularly to create order for both sides. This is one reason I like being a lawyer. But as both a lawyer and a person, I’ve seen the system miss the mark or completely fall apart.
I won’t pretend to know what the right answer presently is on a formal, larger, policy scale.
But I know the process shouldn’t look like it looks today, or has over this past weekend.
I take responsibility for failing to do my part.
You were hungry and I only fed myself. You were thirsty and I failed to offer you something to drink. You were a stranger and I excluded you. You needed clothes and I only bought myself more. You were sick and I forgot about you. You were in prison and I left you by yourself.
Truthfully, we may be worlds apart politically. We may not see eye-to-eye on any of that, but we don’t have to for me to tell you—-
I love you.
I’m sorry it took an executive order to see your pain, to shake me of my silence.
I will be better.
I will err on the side of love.
I will deliberately reach out to tell you so.
I will speak up for you.
I will pray more fervently for our decision-makers.
I will be intentional.
I will act.
I will work diligently to see past my privileged, sheltered condition.
I want you here.
Because you are made in God’s image.
Because I see you, and I love you.
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,
I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
Matthew 25:35-36 (NIV).