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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Avoiding Generalizations About People

I have only included the photo below as context for what I'm talking about. In no way do I agree with what it says. On one level it's a flippant statement, probably not designed to be taken too seriously. However, for me, it is sarcastic and rude. It is an unfortunate generalization, a strawman set up to be attacked. However, if we actually take the time to get to know immigrants and refugees on a personal level rather than attacking a broad and undefined group, we will hopefully form a more positive attitude.
During the first part of my mission, I had the privilege to serve among a group of refugees from Burma who had been exiled from their own country because their culture wasn't in favor with those in power. To this day, I have not met a kinder or more generous group of people. They accepted us into their homes, shared what they had with us and did more for us than we could offer them. They shared their traditions with us and allowed us to discuss the gospel with them. Many of these good people had already been baptized into other Christian denominations, but they opened their hearts and their homes to us. I love them and I could feel their love for me. Never did they try to push their traditions onto others or ask us to change what we taught them; rather, they shared what they had and listened with love when we shared with them. I learned a great deal from my time with them. I admit that seeing a post like this photo is disturbing to me, because I can imagine that someone might apply such a statement to these people I care about. It is much better to think about people as individuals, because when we do, it is easier to see them as our brothers and sisters rather than as members of a generalized, faceless group.
Photo: So these people who have fled to America now want to change us?  #tcot #kjrs #teaparty #LNYHBT