When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the Lord your God. – Leviticus 19:33-34
God is reminding Israel of at least two principles in this passage. The first is that all people deserve respect regardless of whether they are of the same race, ethnicity, or national origin as we are. The second is that Israel is to remember how they felt when about the way they were treated when they were aliens in a foreign land.
Many of us have not been resident aliens in another country, but most of us have moved into new neighborhoods, or changed jobs where there was a totally different work environment. Those changes were not easy for us and if there was a kind person who reached out to us during those times it made the transition easier.
Many years ago I moved from California to Missouri. Talk about culture shock! We moved out of an environment where there was such a rat race going on that it was difficult to even get to know the next door neighbors. Then we moved to Missouri. I came home one day and there was a man mowing my lawn. As I walked up he said, “Hello neighbor, I just wanted to welcome you to the neighborhood.” I felt accepted.
As a national people we are still trying to find our way in the treatment of the alien. We are faced with the issue of illegal aliens and the threat of terrorists coming into our country to wreck havoc. Then there is the tragedy of the attitude toward people of African descent whose ancestors were brought to this country as unwilling slaves. For far too long we not only treated them as unwanted aliens we also abused them in the most horrendous ways.
It is time for believers to be examples to the world around us of how we are to treat the strangers among us. We have not been faithful to our calling until we have loved the stranger, the alien, as ourselves. Think about it.
Prayer: Lord, it doesn’t take us long to forget that you reached out to us when we were alone and in need. Help me to love the alien and reach out to them. Amen.
Be Kind To The Strangers Among You
Principle: The stranger and foreigner living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were strangers and foreigners in Egypt.
Affirmation: The Spirit of Christ in me gives me grace to love strangers and foreigners as myself.
Reflection: Today we are faced with the paradox of the command to love the alien as ourselves and the popular attitude that we should send them home. Think about whether your attitude reflects God's command or the popular opinion.
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