Too often we use words of Scripture to prove a point. It can be a bad practice. Yet at times there are words that seem to speak clearly to our times. Such is this passage from the Book of Leviticus that is a clear call for lovingkindness.
When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.
– Leviticus 19:33-34 New International Version (NIV)
This is what I hear clearly in this passage. The Lord is our God. And God commands us to treat foreign-born citizens with respect and love. It is as simple as that.
Juxtapose that command with the many voices calling for mass deportations, dividing immigrant families, and refusing to offer welcome to refugees fleeing from danger in their homeland. How can those who profess that they are people of faith advocate for unwelcoming national policy?
I cannot answer that question. I do not understand. What I do understand is this:
– 8.4 million Syrian children, inside and outside the country, are in need of humanitarian aid, and millions have borne witness to unrelenting violence from the brutal conflict that began more than five years ago.
– 2.6 million Syrian children are no longer in school and more than 2.5 million are living as refugees in neighboring countries or on the run in search of safety, helping to fuel a global migrant crisis.
– Syria is now the world’s biggest producer of both internally displaced people and refugees. Many children have spent several bitter winters living in makeshift shelters without adequate protection from the cold. (unicefusa.org)
On the brighter side the U.S. accepted more than 2,300 Syrian refugees in June of 2016 alone, sending the fiscal year total soaring past the 5,000 mark and putting the government on track to surpass President Obama’s goal of 10,000 by the end of September. (washingtontimes.com)
May God fill our hearts with compassion and lovingkindness. May our nation become a welcoming place of refuge. May we love others as we love ourselves.