Chuck Foreman – Teaching / Missions Pastor
When a foreigner resides among you in your land,
do not mistreat them.
The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born.
Love them as yourself,
for your were foreigners in Egypt.
I am the LORD your God.
As Followers of Jesus we are called to love those who are unlike us. This means putting ourselves in the place of those who are experiencing difficulty even when we do not relate to their situation, as God expected his people Israel to do, because of their personal heritage of having been foreigners themselves in Egypt.
I believe that is the source of the disconnect for most Americans, including Christians, in processing the whole immigration debate and arriving at a position with regard to the foreigners living among us, which reflects God’s heart toward the foreigner—most of us have never been foreigners! We don’t know what it is like to live anywhere else but in our homeland. God’s command to us is simply this, although not so simple: Love the foreigner residing among you as yourself. Period.
After a stimulating discussion with some who were present at yesterday’s message, if occurs to me that the threat of infiltrating terrorists here in America may have been on the minds of others present yesterday at FCC, Sunday, June 4, 2017, especially after a day of news from London over the second terrorist bombing there in the last several weeks. As Christians, (and by that I mean those who are genuinely attempting to follow Jesus and not simply those who because of their geographical location in the west and Judeo-Christian ethical/social heritage call themselves “Christian”) how are we to think and respond to the debate in our country over issues like the travel ban, the wall between Mexico and the U.S., etc.? In short, I would say, regardless of your position on these challenging issues, I believe God’s clear mandate to us to love the foreigner residing among as ourselves still stands and should permeate our thinking and our daily actions. Here’s what I mean—we do not know who the terrorists living among us are. They might even be your neighbor. I’m not trying to create paranoia here, but to simply call out our present reality. So, what do we do? God still says, “Love them as yourself!”
There is no greater power under heaven to transform lives than love. We all believe that deep down in our hearts, and some of us have actually given it a shot (sorry, I mean ‘a try’) and seen firsthand that it’s true. Love works. What if a genuine follower of Jesus had befriended the two brothers responsible for the Boston Marathon bombing? What if someone had shown them unconditional kindness at some point along the way? Who knows what that might have allowed the Spirit of God, who melts cold and frozen hearts, to do? There is much we don’t know, but there can be no question about what God is looking to see in my heart and yours—that we love the foreigner residing among us as we love ourselves. When we do that, we’re doing the best thing we can possibly do, and I believe God will do the rest. Just try it and see.