DACA: Should we treat foreigners like citizens?
The day after the President announced his timetable for DACA, I ran across this bit of advise on a church website: “Do not take advantage of foreigners who live among you in your land. Treat them like native-born (citizens), and love them as you love yourself.” . . .
At first I thought “People are going to be offended by the political nature of this statement.” Surely the writer had to understand the necessity of protecting national borders. “Treat foreigners like citizens?” That is not even practical. But there was something vaguely familiar in the words. I looked a bit closer and did some research and discovered that these words are words that God spoke to the Israelites as they were settling the Promised Land.
God seems to have a special place in his heart for people who are outsiders. The call to welcome the stranger is a call that runs from Genesis through Malachi in the Hebrew scriptures and throughout the gospels. Jesus spent his time with people who were on the fringes of society. He hung out with tax collectors and sinners; he touched lepers; he freed the demon possessed; he engaged in conversation with outcast women; he welcomed the touch of an unclean woman; he even died with thieves.
As we think about the way Jesus interacted with strangers and the way Israel was to treat the foreigner, may we learn to love the foreigner in our midst as we love ourselves and even more, as God loves them.
Pastor Doug Stratton