I love the ways God uses the Old and New Testament writers to speak to us today. Even when it is not something I particularly want to hear, it’s always something I need to hear. Is that true for you, too?
“In this is Love, not that we have loved GOD but that He Loved us and sent His SON to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if GOD so Loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen GOD; if we love one another, GOD abides in us and His LOVE is perfected in us. By this is Love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the Day of Judgment, because as He is so also are we in this world.” – 1 John 4:10-12, 17 ESV
Notice the word John uses to start the sentence that I highlighted above: Beloved. That one word sums up how the GOD Who created the universe – not just our little earth and and everything in it, but every galaxy, every planet, every star, down the the most minute particles and atom and beyond – this word says how He feels about each and every one of us! Mind-boggling, don’t you agree?
“When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your GOD.” – Leviticus 19:33-34 ESV
There are two points I see here. I think John is referring primarily to our brothers and sisters in CHRIST, but also to our brothers and sisters in humanity – everyone on earth is part of my (our) family, and I (we) should love them. Love the PERSON, not being swayed by the life choices or lifestyle, ethnicity, or social or financial status.
Secondly, GOD specifically tells His People of Israel to treat the foreigners among them as they treat their fellow Israelites, but I don’t believe He was limiting His Voice to Israel. Jesus gave us the Golden Rule: “Love thy neighbor as yourself” in Matthew 22:37-40. ( Anyone who loves the LORD should be practicing these commands.) Who is my neighbor? It is not just the person who lives next door or in my neighborhood. My “neighbors” consist of every person I come into contact with – each shop clerk, every irritating person in line or traffic, co-worker, study group…. all neighbors, even the family member you really just don’t like. Do you see how this ties together? We have neighbors and strangers among us. They could be from another country, or a different religion, or value system, or lifestyle. They could be a recovering addict. Even in our immediate family we can have “strangers and foreigners”.
Look around. Are there “foreigners” around you? How do you treat them? I have to look at myself, and examine how I treat the foreigners around me; I need to love them and pray for them daily. Here’s a great way to remind ourselves!
Note: This post is not politically motivated, nor is it in favor of granting illegals asylum in the United States. That is an ENTIRELY different subject!