The idea of immigrants competing with locals for jobs is a political hot potato in many countries. Some citizens resent the newcomers because they perceive them as stealing jobs, competing for scarce services, and causing overcrowding. With unfamiliar customs and languages, the immigrants are sometimes accused of disturbing and even threatening the social fabric of the native born. So how should believers in Jesus respond to the aliens living in their midst?
Fresh out of Egypt, God commanded His people to be kind to foreigners. He told them, “When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them” (Leviticus 19:33 NIV), because, ”You were once foreigners living in Egypt” (Leviticus 19:34). They were to remember how they too were mistreated as aliens (Exodus 23:9; Deuteronomy 10:19).
But that’s not all. God expects us to be proactive—to “treat [the foreigners] like native-born, and love them as you love yourself” (Leviticus 19:34). We’re to treat foreigners as locals, not outsiders. As Jesus said, “I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home” (Matthew 25:35). That’s grace!
God gives us a compelling motivation to reach out in this way. “I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 19:34). Our God “is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all his creation” (Psalm 145:9). God “shows love to the foreigners living among you and gives them food and clothing. So you, too, must show love to foreigners” (Deuteronomy 10:18-19).
As Jesus’ followers, we’re called to “imitate God . . . [as] his dear children” and to “live a life filled with love” (Ephesians 5:1-2). He provides what we need to love others well!
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Matthew 11:1-30
Read Deuteronomy 10:17-19, 24:14-15, and Malachi 3:5 to see God’s heart for the foreigners living among His people.
What is one kind act you can do for a “foreigner” living in your midst this week? How does love for those who are different from us reflect the heart of God?