The Self-Preservation Instinct and Immigration

The dictator burned with jealousy toward him.  He feared letting that born leader grow up in the midst of the people, that he would have so many followers that they would end up taking away his power.   So he decided to eliminate him.  Controlling the army, the law, and the wealth, he could kill anyone he wanted, whenever he wanted, wherever and however he wanted.  The problem was that he didn’t know where to find him.

So he sent his thugs to a town where the enemy of his government was supposedly hiding, and he ordered a massacre fit for the worst Latin American military dictatorship.

After carrying out the atrocity, his officer in charge gave him bad news:  the subject who would one day come to challenge his authority had escaped.  Someone had warned his family that the army would invade the town.  In fact, his whole family had sought refuge in a foreign country.  The instinct of self-preservation had driven them into self-exile, leaving their country to emigrate to another country that would offer them security.

Did this story happen in a Central or South American country?  Did General Somoza of Nicaragua or General Videla of Argentina give the orders?  What country did the family choose to seek protection?  The United States, Canada, Cuba or Mexico?  Does this tale come from the decade of the 70’s or was it from the present century?

The events occurred more than 2,000 years ago in a small town called Bethlehem under the corrupt government of Herod.  The person sought out for assassination was not even two years old.  The country sought for refuge was Egypt and the persecuted political leader was Jesus.  But he could have been Pedro, Juan, Elizabeth, Teresa or any one of thousands of men and women who have seen themselves obligated to emigrate to preserve their lives and those of their families in the face of political persecution.  Others have felt the need to leave their beloved countries to avoid being victims of narcotrafficking, gangs, and common crime.

The instinct of preserving life is the reason for which many have left their countries and sought refuge, principally in the United States.  If God Himself sent His Son to a foreign country to protect his life, what right do we have to judge those who emigrate to safeguard their physical integrity and that of their families?


Acerca de Joseph Castleberry

A missionary to Latin America for 20 years, I currently serve as president of Northwest University in Kirkland, WA. I am the author of Your Deepest Dream (NavPress, 2012); The Kingdom Net: Learning to Network Like Jesus (Influence Resources, 2013), and The New Pilgrims: How Immigrants are Renewing America's Faith and Values.
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