Boundaries of Mercy

by Rev Lai Kai Ming

Readings: Deuteronomy 18-20; Psalm 81

READ (verse/s chosen for meditation)
Deuteronomy 19:14
“You shall not remove your neighbor’s landmark, which the men of old have set, in your inheritance which you will inherit in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess.

This was a simple but important command – don’t try to gain a little bit more land by shifting your neighbor’s boundary fence. Given the large areas that agricultural families might own, the adjustment would not even be noticeable. But the principle remained. What belonged to another was not for one to take freely. Personal ownership was respected. But generosity was also expected. (See e.g. Deuteronomy 15:7)

Today, my thoughts turned towards the millions of desperate people leaving their own country in search of safety and survival. At present, many countries in Europe have decided to close the door to migrants. They have sealed their borders and erected soldiers to guard them. Even when these migrants were dying at sea, they have not been allowed to land on European soil. How did personal ownership become the reason for cruelty? If someone dying knocks at our door, do we have a right to chase him away? What would Singapore do if one day a boat full of Rohingyas is discovered just 100m off East Coast Park?

Lord, help me to never shut the door at anyone who needs a place of refuge.