December 8, 2022
“You must not exploit a foreign resident or oppress him, since you were foreigners in the land of Egypt.”
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“You must not exploit a foreign resident or oppress him, since you were foreigners in the land of Egypt.” Exodus 22:21
For many years, my family and I lived in Riverside in Southern California. Our town was comprised of a myriad of people groups, but the dominant ethnicity was Mexican. 48% Mexican, to be exact. Without reigniting the debate over who originally owned the land of California, let’s just say that race relations can be a sensitive topic around California on occasion. This is especially true when it comes to illegal residents.
As a matter of policy, whenever any country borders another country, the issue of immigration is sure to cause a debate. It is safe to say this is an age-old issue. We know this because 40 years before Israel entered the Promised Land, God outlined how the Israelites should treat foreigners once they finally entered Canaan and took possession.
Of all the ancient cultures, only the God of Israel was as compassionate towards the weak, meek, needy & lowly. I believe God’s gracious attitude towards humanity is because He created all life on earth, and that, from before time began, He had a plan to redeem mankind through Messiah Jesus. (1 Peter 1:20; Revelation 13:8)
All men are God’s creation; hence all men deserve dignity. That’s not to say all men honor God. I am simply saying that nobody knows who will eventually repent and follow God, regardless of nationality. Individuals from all nationalities will become members of God’s family, but who knows which ones will respond to the Gospel? We might as well treat them all with dignity, especially in remembrance of how we were merely sinners, saved by God’s grace.
For a moment, let’s assume the “identity” of Israel. Consider “foreigners” as those who are yet to trust Messiah. How do you respond when a non-believer enters your Church? How do you treat non-believers when you are around a group of your believing friends?
Do you show grace and compassion when others seek to distance themselves from “sinners”? Do you remember how it felt before you knew the Lord? How was the person who led you to Jesus different from other “believers” you had met before, so different that you decided to follow Jesus? Be THAT person for the non-believers in your life.
Not only is it possible to lead people to the Lord, standing firm in Biblical conviction, all the while maintaining a gracious & merciful demeanor. It is essential!
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