My brother served as a youth pastor at the Mount Vernon Salvation Army. He lived in the church. On one particular evening, a boy from the teen group knocked on his door. It was late, and the visitor caught my brother off guard. He answered the door and asked what the boy needed.
The boy wanted to stay and play video games.
My brother agreed and as he got his console ready for the boy, he asked what was going on that the boy would come by this late at night.
The boy replied that the police were at his house arresting his mother and that his dad was already in jail. He just wanted a safe place to be until the state came to put him with another foster family.
I wish this was the only case of such a thing happening here hometown United States. It is not. I could go on with story after story about children separated from their parents. To be honest, most of the time, people reply that it’s good to get the children away from there drug addled, abusive, or sexually predatory parents.
The discussion over children being separated from their parents at the border seems to be a volatile point that’s not going anywhere. That is good. It shouldn’t. We should be horrified by what is going on at the border. Children are being brought to the United States to be sold into slavery. They are being used as body shields for the drug cartels. Some of those criminals are their parents, some are not. It’s hard to even vet them to tell, however, we are a nation that cares about the safety of children first, so we separate them from the adult carrying them over the border until we are sure the adult means them no harm.
We can argue the semantics of what is actually going on at the border or in this teen’s life. It won’t lead to change. What I find myself doing is asking, “What can I do about this issue?” Then, “Is my emotional response in proportion to what I can do?”
I find that as Christians, we should be asking these two questions. Christ’s attempts to stay away from politics and focus on the individual echo these questions of personal responsibility. I’ve seen this issue of the border turn “Christians” into the most disgustingly hateful people all in the name of their humanitarianism. “They care so deeply for the children!”
My question is why don’t they care about the one’s in their own town? What are they doing in the neighborhood God told them to influence by saying “Love thy neighbor”? Most of these people are doing nothing. This incredibly sad situation is societal movement like the ice bucket challenge. Meanwhile, real children are suffering all manner of abuse. They are lonely. They want a safe place to sit and play video games.
I’m not trying to discount the trauma either child endures. I’m not a fan of how bureaucracy has handled either the teen or the child on the border. They need REAL change. God called us to be that change. With political parties taking over our “humanitarianism” I fear that the value of actually doing something is being lost. Real issues are relegated to around the water cooler talks or Facebook arguments. I’m glad someone is actually doing something. One child is better than none. However, I feel the energy I invest into my emotions over these children should be in proportion to the actions I take. The world needs more doers and less tantrums.
Aaron Daniel Behr
Mount Vernon, Ohio
July 17, 2018