Wednesday, August 16, 2006

My neighbors are not terrorists.

I don't think they are. But then, there are neighbors in other states surprised to find out that theirs were.

I have been pretty strong in my opinion about racial profiling. I hate it. My guys feel differently about it. To me, it smacks of prejudice. I hate prejudice. Prejudice means to Pre-judge, based on a certain set of (usually external) facts. Such as ethnicity, skin color, etc. My guys see it as a necessary way to avoid further terror attacks, and save lives. A "necessary evil" according to my oldest. (My political boy) I usually fight them tooth and nail. This week? Not so much.

This week my DH had to fly to the other end of our country. Under a heightened terror alert. While fully trusting God- I also know that bad things happen. I don't like bad things. I prefer to avoid bad things, to be honest. This week, I thought, "Maybe this profiling thing isn't so bad". At least for this flight. The whole thought process, bothered me.

Maybe it isn't bad. Maybe it is very bad. Heart hardening bad.

This afternoon, when I pulled into my driveway, I saw my neighbor family out for a walk. They are Lebanese and yes, they are Muslim. My son's have had a few "issues" with some of their sons'. Our last name is "ethnic" Jewish, actually. My neighors, (at least their sons) don't like Jewish people. I guess that means they don't like us. I've had other people not like me before (given enough time, I can be pretty annoying) but I've never had anyone not like me because of my ethnicity. Honestly... when I saw them today, I thought, "They don't like Jews....or Christians.....What If?" What if they are terrorists? Me, the one who opposes racism of all sorts, looked at her neighbor, and mentally "profiled them." Just for a moment. It made me sick.

Conflicted. See I told you. Because...I also like my neighbors. I am intrigued by their culture. I chose a neighborhood that was purposefully multi-cultural. I want my kids to grow up around people of different nationalities. So that they can love people regardless of their skin color, or last name. I have Indian Neighbors, Hindi Neighbors, African American Neighbors, Irish Neighbors, Italian Neighbors, and cranky neighbors. I like it this way. ( I actually do try to be kind to the cranky ones...)

But, this week....... I actually wondered. What IF? What IF my neighbors are terrorists?

It wasn't the fear of terrorists that bothered me, but my response. My initial response was "What if? well...then yourself far from them and be safe, smile, make nice, but keep away" That scared me. "Keep away." These people need God, and I want to recoil? To me, that is worse than if they are terrorists. How can I be a Missional Mom... if I recoil from my mission field? How can I teach my kids to love, if I don't endeavor to love those who hate us?

Why? Because, I am called into this neighborhood for a purpose. To love the neighbors I have. Regardless. I can't let seeds of fear take root in my heart and change my attitude towards my neighbors. I have to guard against looking at them as potential enemies, instead of Creations of the Most High God, whom God wants to love, through me. Even if they don't like me.

Even if they are Muslim, even if they are terrorists. Either way- I will have to stand before Jesus someday, and answer for my attitude.... His question may sound something like this... "Did you love your neighbor?"

I want to be able to answer, "Yes Lord, they may not have loved me, but I loved them"

Dear Jesus, I pray for courage, wisdom and strength to love my neighbors, all of them. Especially my Muslim neighbors. Fill me with your love for them, God I ask that you'd use me to love them. Lord, I don't have answers to political problems, but I believe you ARE the answer to spiritual ones. I ask you to help me to love, " Even if." God I ask you to help me to reach out to my neighbors, my Hindi neighbors, my African American neighbors... my just plain vanilla neighbors, I love you Lord- and want to love others well, help my boys to see and learn from our example, following after you- in Jesus name- amen

In Matthew 5: 43-48 Jesus says it this way: I hear an "Even if" in here:

Love for Enemies

"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.


Kari Z. Murphy said...

"Because, I am called into this neighborhood for a purpose. To love the neighbors I have. Regardless."

~This quote hit me right between the eyes. This is the first time we *haven't* been in a multicultural neighborhood, though we believe we are exactly where the Lord planted us. I have struggled with where we *are*, though...but this is a wonderful, true reminder. Thanks.

Awesome post!

ReneeM said...

oh, thank you. What a wonderful wonderful... and honest :) post!! I was thinking the other day, that was how we wanted to raise our children... to be in the world (neigbors) and love the world (neighbors), just not of it.