WHO IS A STRANGER?
God inspired Moses to write this instruction, including an appeal to the memories of the Israelites. Namely, that they should remember how it felt to be oppressed as strangers in Egypt. This injunction has at least two motivating factors: First, obey because God said so, and second, obey because you know how it feels to be mistreated as a stranger in a foreign land. This second motivation is similar to the Golden Rule, which says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Matt. 7:12).
At some time in our lives, surely most of us have felt like strangers. A new school, a new job, a new neighborhood, maybe even a new family, these are all situations where we began as strangers before hopefully becoming neighbors or family. The greater the change of setting or status, the greater the feeling of strangeness. This is either compounded or relieved by the way those who are already part of the tribe treat us.
Certainly, we must apply this to how we treat those in our country that have immigrated here. We must not oppress them. Even more, as believers, we should welcome them. For we are called to make disciples of all nations. And the nations have come to us.
So, we might also apply it to how we treat anyone who is outside of our family of faith. As the apostle Paul wrote, “Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside” (Col. 4:5). In other words, we are called to live wisely with unbelievers that we might share the gospel of Christ with them. In this way, they might move from former strangers to fellow saints.
PRAYER: Dear Father, we were once as strangers to You, but You have redeemed us from sin and death and made us Your children through faith in Jesus. We rejoice in this great adoption! Help us to always live wisely before those who are still living as strangers, so that we might invite them into Your family. In Jesus’ name, amen.