“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.” (Leviticus 19:33-34 NIV)
I have dogs. My daughter has cats. We each have our own house, but we share the same property. My dogs have thus not grown up with her cats. And her cats have not grown up with my dogs. So, when the dogs go up to the big house with me from time to time, there is bound to be a little excitement.
The dogs know the cats are in the house, as they have seen them through the windows. They are therefore immediately on high alert looking for them. And the cats, being cats, have no intention of allowing these interlopers, to be boss in their territory. In the end a chase is the inevitable result. The dog begins to chase one or more of the cats, but then the cats will often turn on the dogs and go after them. There is a lot of barking and hissing and even some snapping from a distance, because each creature is afraid of the other one. They see each other as posing a threat to their existence as they know it, for they are different from one another and find this disconcerting.
I have learned from experience however that when cats and dogs spend enough time together, they not only get to know one another they also discover they have nothing to fear and usually become great friends, even protectors of the other one.
Similarly, when new people move into our neighborhood, towns and nation taking the time to get to know them is very important. God calls us to treat strangers well. We are not to seek to chase them away by means of our words, or actions but to love them as God loves.
We are to love them as ourselves. We are to welcome them and make them feel at home. Their culture, customs, language even their skin and looks may vary greatly from our own. This may even be disconcerting at first, but we are all people, created in the image of God. We are all people whom Christ loves and died for that we could become one body of believers, reconciled to God and living in peace one with another.
Whom might God be encouraging you to welcome into your life today?
Prayer: Father God, thank You that mankind, each and every one of us has been created in Your image. Help us to love one another as You have loved us through Christ Jesus our Lord that our world may live more and more at peace, one with another, as You desire us to be. In Christ’s name we ask. Amen.
Atlin, British Columbia, Canada