Do not plan harm against your neighbor who lives trustingly beside you.
Do not quarrel with anyone without cause, when no harm has been done to you.
“Get out of my country!” These words reportedly preceded the firing of a gun that killed Srinivas Kuchibhotla and wounded Alok Madasani on February 22, 2017. The 32-year-old immigrants had come to the U.S. from India to work for Garmin, a Kansas City technology company, and were enjoying time at a suburban sports bar.
There were a lot of presumptions at work in this situation. The shooter, a 51-year-old white male, presumed that the two men were not U.S. Citizens. Was it the color of their skin? An accent? The shooter presumed that they were a threat to “his country.” His presumption of threat led him to plan preemptively and act defensively–even though no harm had been done to him. In this case, an immigrant from India died, and immigrants (from anywhere) became more anxious about their own safety as they go about their daily routines.
Presumptions are not formed in a vacuum. They are shaped over time by the messages we receive from family, school, media and even our faith. And presumptions, once formed, are difficult to change.
But not impossible.
Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Questions for Reflection
What have you been told about immigrants? Were some immigrants portrayed positively and others negatively? How have those messages shaped your beliefs and prompted your actions toward immigrants–or people you think may be immigrants?
Do you have any direct personal experience with an immigrant? If so, how has the relationship impacted your presumptions?
How have you experienced difficulty in changing your presumptions about immigrants?