Friday, June 29, 2012

Embrace The Stranger Amongst You

When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
~Leviticus 19:33-34

Let's be honest, most of us are only comfortable around those that are familiar to us and for those in the church this is often just other believers. There is nothing wrong with being comfortable in that way, but it often causes us to shun or neglect the strangers amongst us. This can be seen in a variety of ways, but the common way for a Christian is by creating our Christian sub-culture where we build our fences to keep the world out.

In this passage the Israelites had been strangers in Egypt therefore they knew what it was like and ought to treat strangers amongst them as themselves. We too must be reminded that we are to treat the "strangers" amongst us with love as we would our brother for we too were once strangers. 

Jesus Christ came to be a stranger amongst us and was mistreated and ultimately killed in our place, but now for those who are in Christ we are no longer strangers to the Kingdom of God. In remembering that we too were once strangers to the things of God should cause us to embrace the strangers around us and to treat them and love them as one of our own. In a very real sense we should love and usher strangers into the presence of Christ.

In other words, treat those that are different from you as if they were one of you until it actually happens. This points back to a post I wrote in March on the idea of pre-discipleship, treat the stranger as a follower/disciple of Christ until they become one.

So think of how you have been avoiding the strangers in your life and take the opportunity this week to embrace that individual into a new and loving relationship; where they are treated as you yourself would want to be treated.

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