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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sojourners Among Us

““You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.” Exodus 22:21

It is wrong to pick out laws from the Old Testament and apply them hook, line, and sinker to our current situations. Christ came and fulfilled the law and now we please God through faith in Christ not by a strict adherence to the law. If we use one Old Testament law to place a rule on us today, then we are bound to keep the whole law. We can't pick and choose. (The moral law, like the Ten Commandments, are different from the code laws and judicial ordinances presented in Exodus 21-23, I am talking about the latter.) Therefore, as much as I would like to take the verse above and apply it directly to the situation with undocumented immigrants, or just immigrants in general, I can't. However, the relevance of the law in the Old Testament is what it says about the nature of God, not what it says about how we live. So if this is what the Lord commanded about how Israel is supposed to treat sojourners among them, then what does it say about the heart of God towards sojourners? Later in the chapter, God says that his wrath will burn against the mistreated and that He is a God of compassion. I do not want to oversimplify the issue of undocumented workers and immigrants in the country. But what this verse says about God is that he expects his people to treat strangers in their midst with kindness and care, because we were all at one time just like them. I know this is a hot topic, and I'm not trying to oversimplify the complex. However, there are many of us who need to read this passage and examine the attitude that we take towards the sojourners among us. Whichever side of the debate were on, we can all agree that the Bible does not support hate and prejudice towards immigrants. As believers, we need to be kind and caring towards immigrants, regardless of their current legal status, because our God is a God of compassion and justice for the oppressed. America has a history of hatred and prejudice in the church, and it is an ugly sin of which we must repent!

Lord Jesus, convict us of our prejudice towards the sojourners and help us to see them with kindness and compassion!

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