Undocumented Children and Compassionate Discernment

By Fredric A. Carlson

Few of us are unaware that tens of thousands of undocumented and unaccompanied children from Central America are flooding across our border with Mexico, seeking new lives here. Just giving them temporary food and shelter is stretching the capacities of our border cities. Deciding what to do with them has been both disconcerting and controversial, to say the least.

What would Jesus say to us about them? I believe that He would ask us to show them compassionate discernment (discerning compassion?). He would say to us what He said to his uncaring disciples while He was here, "Let the little children come to me. Forbid them not" (Matthew 14:19).
Show compassionate discernment — let the undocumented children come to Jesus.
Many of these minors are fleeing for their lives from uncontrolled violence back home. I believe that Jesus would tell us to provide asylum for them as refugees. He would ask us to do whatever it takes to care for them. He would ask us in His name to see to it that the refugees who were in real danger in their home towns are given every opportunity for a safe, new start here, just as our nation, beginning at Plymouth Rock, has extended such opportunity to those of any age who are fleeing dangerously unjust conditions in any country. He would remind us to live up to our reputation for welcoming just such sufferers. That well-earned reputation is inscribed on the base of our Statue of Liberty:
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free;
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless,
Tempest-tossed to me
I lift my lamp beside the golden door! …"

—Emma Lazarus
Jesus would ask Christian families to demonstrate to the children His compassion, by fostering or adopting some of them.

Since Jesus has the ability to see the motives of the heart, He would not be taken in by fabricated excuses or by manipulative schemes. I believe that He would say to those who attempt to use this immigration crisis for personal or political gain, "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea" (Mark 9:42).

I believe that Jesus would have us appoint wise, discerning, and compassionate immigration judges, and instruct them to grant asylum to those underage immigrants who are in real danger, and to defer to other appropriate immigration processes those who are only pretending danger.

Image Credit: Brian Auer; "Slipping Through the Fence"; Creative Commons

TagsBiblical-Truth  |  Christian-Life  |  Controversial-Issues  |  Current-Issues  |  Jesus-Christ  |  Political-Issues

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Published 7-17-14