Aliens and Sojourners

“For the assembly, there shall be one statute for you and for the stranger who sojourns with you, a statute forever throughout your generations. You and the sojourner shall be alike before the Lord.”—Numbers 15:15

“He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.” –Deuteronomy 10:18,19

I cannot solve the immigration debate with 200 words (a longer document will follow). I simply pray my reflection today prompts us to pray, listen and engage each other with more humility than hubris.

I just finished the book of Numbers. Chapter 15 mentions aliens or sojourners multiple times. The gist of God’s exhortation? Treat them like you treat yourselves. What a concept; it reminds me of what Another said: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” (Matthew 6:12)

God tells us in Deuteronomy 10 to love the sojourner. No, I don’t think it means we cannot or should not have borders or laws or values we hold; but it does mean we begin with love—costly, self-sacrificing love. What does that mean?

It means treating “aliens and sojourners” with grace and dignity. It means we remember in the course of debate, that we are talking about human beings made in the image of God.

It also means we remember that those we disagree with in this debate are ALSO made in the image of God—therefore deserving of grace and respect. Reducing our opponents to “racists” or “bleeding hearts” so we can dismiss them out of hand without a hearing is sin.

The present debate in our country about immigration is not just about finding a solution, it is about the WAY we find a solution. Followers of Jesus should set the example.

A couple of questions to consider while the conversation continues:

Am I a voice for grace and humility and wisdom from above? (James 3:15)

What can I do to bring a reconciling witness and meaningful solution to the public debate?

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