“Our country is being overrun with foreigners.” “Everywhere I go, I see people from different ethnicities, different cultures.” “Maybe we should build a wall or develop a policy to keep them out.”
These statements are sometimes thought. But God speaks to the Children of Israel in Leviticus 19:34, “The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”
God does not see ethnic diversity as a threat. Other people groups and “strangers” were not to be ostracized from the sphere of connection but instead are to be drawn into the closeness of our families. The Israelites and ourselves are to love the stranger as if they were a part of our family, born in our house. This may not be easy. It may not be what we would naturally do, however this was God’s command to His people. Elsewhere God gave exhortations about not taking the values or the gods of the foreigners, but this did not mean that they were not to welcome the stranger and encourage them.
Perhaps if we were more loving and considerate to those that are strangers in our midst there would be more peace and understanding. After all, we were all strangers to God, and He loved us enough to bring us into His family. Could we not love and care for others?
Take a moment to consider who is the stranger in your midst that you need to spend more time with. Then pray and ask our Lord to fill you with a heart of care and compassion that embraces the foreigners and the strangers in your midst.