“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 you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.” (Leviticus 19:33-34 NIV)
My daughter’s young dog, Sunny, refused to go with her when she was leaving to go home. Mary, however insisted that Sunny go with her. This behaviour continued to persist throughout the summer. One day as Mary called Sunny to go, Sunny ran behind me, sat down and wrapped her front legs around my leg. The only way to get her off was for Mary to try and pry her away. But every time she got one leg off, as she tried to detach the second leg, the first one would once again wind itself back around my leg. What a hoot. After a lot of laughing Mary asked if Sunny could just stay with me and the other dogs until she came back the following weekend and so she did.
Later that summer Mary and her husband bought a business in town and they moved back in with me, so Sunny was extremely happy, until I decided to move into a cabin on our property in order to have my own quiet space. The day I made the move, guess who decided they were moving in with me? You got it. Sunny was determined not to be left behind.
A year later Mary and her husband adopted two rescue pups to live at their house with them, since Sunny now lived with me. Sunny absolutely loves playing outside with the pups but when they come through my open gate and then into my house through my dog’s dog door it is an entirely different situation. She leaps up and flies at them, snapping and growling and then proceeds to herd them back outside. She was so glad when my dogs made room for her in their pack, but now she is not prepared to offer the same kind of welcome and love to these two new little foreigners. And although I have laughed and laughed at her antics with these pups, the Lord also used her behaviour as a reminder to me, as to how He expects us to act toward newcomers within our town, our congregation, our circle of friends.
God is always accepting and loving toward anyone who truly seeks His face. Through Christ He invites them to be part of His eternal family and offers everyone who comes to Him the same blessings and benefits. We must thus ask ourselves; do we do the same in regards to newcomers or is our welcome a lot like Sunny’s. We are willing to interact with them to a certain extend yet at the same time make sure we never really allow them to become part of our lives for any number of reasons. And yet God has said: 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 you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God. When we only half heartedly allow others in to our circle, our town, our group, we are in fact mistreating them for we are not loving them as ourselves.
Before coming to Christ, we were foreigners to God’s kingdom. But in Christ we have been fully welcomed into His family. He loves us and treats us like His very own Son. May we choose to do likewise to the foreigners, whoever they may be, that He brings into our lives.
Prayer: Lord God thank You that through Christ You welcome us into Your family and treat us as heirs to the Kingdom just like Jesus. Empower us to remember that we are to do likewise as You bring new people into our midst. In Christ’s name we ask. Amen.