CAST Voices Devotion: Loving the Foreigner
By Laura Mbugua-Mwaura
28 February 2017
Leviticus 19:33-34 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.
Throughout the Old Testament, God reminds his people to care for the vulnerable living among them. God specifically mentions a few groups of people: widows, orphans and aliens or ‘foreigners’. I think God knew we would always be a bit selfish, and mostly focus on the interests of ourselves and our family. However, the Bible directs us to be outward-focused people who care more about the rights of others than ourselves. In Leviticus, we are told to specifically love the alien, or those who are from outside our nation. Not only are we supposed to not harm them, but we are also called to treat them exactly the same as a citizen of our country. In fact, God reminds his people that they too were foreigners in Egypt at one point. By reminding his people of their slavery experience in Egypt, God was hoping to motivate his people to compassion.
In the world today, we are experiencing major refugee crises in Africa, Syria, Yemen and many other nations. As Christians, we are called to love those who are outsiders in our nation and culture. Loving the foreigner might mean mentoring a refugee family, standing up for the human rights of migrants or inviting a foreign student to your church.
The heart of what the Lord is asking us to do is treat the foreigner the way we would want to be treated. The plight of refugees, migrants and immigrants should bother us because it matters to God. We should also remember that everyone is a foreigner – we all come from somewhere else, even if it is a few generations removed. Ultimately what matters is that we are all citizens of God’s Kingdom.
- How would you feel if you were a refugee, forced to leave your home country because of war or persecution? How would you cope living in a foreign land?
- What is your opinion on being open to foreigners living in your land?
- What is your experience with foreigners living in your country?
- How can you practically fulfill God’s command to love the outsider?