Empathy is generally a good thing. It allows us to feel someone else’s pain, and to understand their point of view.

Social psychologists are alarmed that there has been a 40% decline in empathy from when they began their studies in the late 1960s. In the world of big social measures like this, 40% is huge.

Closer examination reveals that empathy for people like ourselves is steady or maybe even be increasing.  That is why people sincerely report that they are empathetic and caring.

But as a society, we are becoming less empathetic of people who are different from us. 

That has led to a dramatic rise in tribalism, where we care deeply about people who share our culture and values, but write-off the concerns of people from a different “tribe”. No one is shocked by this finding because it’s in our face every day on our Twitter feed or news reports.

But as Christians, we need to be deeply concerned by this societal decline in empathy.

One place this is played out i with debates about immigration. It is a complex issue for which I’ve yet to hear any good answers.

But we don’t have to be policymakers to ask the most basic Christian question: which side of the border wall would Jesus be hanging out on today?

Families are fleeing gangs who’ve kidnapped their sons to fight their drug wars, raped their daughters or sold them into human trafficking, and trashed the local economies leaving no way for parents to support their families. Families have left everything they own and every friend they have to walk hundreds of dangerous miles for the chance of a secure life up north.

From the Bible, we know that Jesus would be more with ragged people who walking the desert than with the politicians stirring racism and inflaming fear to rile-up their political base. There’s nothing more biblical than that.

As Christians, the starting point for our discussion about immigration policy must be, which side of the border wall would Jesus be hanging out on today? WWJD?