My faith tradition has what we call Enduring Principles–ideals that we try to live up to. There are a number of them
- Grace and Generosity
- Sacredness of Creation
- Continuing Revelation
- Worth of All Persons
- All Are Called
- Responsible Choices
- Pursuit of Peace (Shalom)
- Unity in Diversity
- Blessings of Community
The one that has been on my mind a lot recently is the one that talks about the worth of all persons. Each principle has some short statements related to the overall principle; the worth of all persons says this:
- God views all people as having inestimable and equal worth.
- God wants all people to experience wholeness of body, mind, spirit, and relationships.
- We seek to uphold and restore the worth of all people individually and in community, challenging unjust systems that diminish human worth.
- We join with Jesus Christ in bringing good news to the poor, sick, captive, and oppressed.
So what does that principle mean in our current time in history?
For me, it speaks directly to the challenges we in the United States (as well as in other countries) are facing as we deal with issues of immigration.
If I say that I believe all people have worth, then that means all people, no matter their ethnicity, origin, gender, skin color, sexual identity or orientation…or any other the other ways we separate ourselves.
It means all people, regardless of whether they are citizens of my country, legal residents, or undocumented individuals.
If I truly believe that, then I must become more understanding of those who are fleeing situations of violence…and trying to find places of healing.
If I believe that…if I believe that is part of my calling as a minister who follows Christ, then I have no choice but to challenge systems, policies, and actions that say that some are “less than” others.
If I believe that all people are of worth, that includes those I might disagree with. I still see them as beloved children of the One who created us all.
There are no exceptions. None.
I wonder what would happen if we based our lives on that belief…if we had leaders in governments who believed that. How would we interact with each other? How much different would our world be?
Some might say that’s impossible…I don’t. Difficult? Oh yes. But until (and unless) we believe that all people have worth, we will continue to struggle. Not just with issues of immigration but with all of our relationships.