Portland Tragedy Reminds Us: Who is Our Neighbor?

Over the weekend, 3 men were stabbed in Portland while stepping in to protect two teenage girls. Sadly, two of the men died and one is in critical condition but expected to recover. One of the girls was wearing a hijab. This all happened during a commute on a Portland light rail train.  The story is described in more detail here.

Love Your Neighbor

Who is our neighbor?

The Portland event hits close to home for me and my boys. The girls targeted are my middle son’s age. A very large percentage of students at my son’s school wear a hijab. In fact, one of the reasons we chose the school that he attends is so that he is immersed in culture. We want him to get to know people. We believe that it is important to meet people, hear their stories, try to understand hearts.

We believe that we are family.

We believe that every person is a child of God. We believe that humanity – all of humanity –  is created by God. Therefore, we are ALL brothers and sisters, regardless of the labels placed upon us by others or ourselves. My son’s school includes all religions and cultures. Not only do we embrace this, but we absolutely LOVE the diversity.

  What happened in Portland can just as easily happen in my hometown: San Diego. It can happen at my son’s school. It can happen in the surrounding areas.  It can happen with my son and his friends.  And I’m left wondering, would San Diegans step in as these men did?

Would someone step in for my son and his friends if this were to happen to them?

Would I step in, as these men did for someone in need of help? Would I step in, for anyone, for that matter- or simply do the easy thing and ignore? Pretend that I don’t see it and that if it’s not happening to me, it’s none of my business.

The Portland event reminds me of an ancient story I grew up reading,  a parable I was taught over and over again – In the story, many people passed by a dieing man of a different religion/culture, only one was willing to step in and show love.

The stories many of us grew up reading seem like a no brainer, until they come to life.

Would we pass “the others” by or will we stop seeing “others” and start seeing brothers. Sisters.

We are all more alike than we are different.

We are all created by the same God. We are all loved by the Father. And in this incredibly sad and unfortunate event, love wins. Love always wins. In death, love stands out the most. There is no us and them. There is only we. Love. Family.

Our very existence is to love. To be love. To show love.

Who is my neighbor?

And last, dare I ask:

Who will love the ones who hate? How do we do this, while keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe?

*It’s important to remember, this was not just an event, a circumstance, something that happened somewhere else. This entire tragedy is about lives. People’s lives, families, hearts have been deeply effected. Many are hurting and I don’t take that lightly. This is about them, us, all of us. We are family.

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