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How do we treat the stranger?
February 12, 2017, 3:10 pm
Filed under: Culture, God | Tags: , ,

I ask that question, because it does matter how we treat those who come to our country. If they come as a legal immigrant, have we checked to see that they really want to become a part of the citizenry? Have we ascertained what they believe about our nation, and what they are coming here for? I do believe we have the right to insure that people who come to live in our nation should be checked out, vetted if you will, because to be truthful there have been quite a few people who came to our country with our death in their minds, and that is not a good thing for us.

I grew up in New York City, Staten Island to be precise,  in a neighborhood that had a lot of kids my age, we played games, from hide and seek, to football, baseball and other games. Cowboys and Indians, Cops and Robbers, Soldiers and other things. We did not think about who was what nationality, we did not worry about differences, we worried about who would win the games we played. We shared food and drink, we would go to each others homes when someone was BBQing and enjoyed being together.

In the reality of our time 1950’s and 60’s, we did not worry about anything except what was the next game we would play, and who was on who’s side. Then along came the late 60’s and we found ourselves watching people setting fire to their own neighborhoods, and none of us, black, white or yellow, could honestly understand why? It never has made sense to me why people will burn down homes, stores and whatever else might be handy.

My mother worked at the World Trade Center, she passed away in 1974, so she was not there when 2001 happened. That too made no sense, why did those people hate us so much that they had to kill and destroy? Fast forward to today, why do these people hate us so much they have to destroy and kill, maim and just plain hurt those others?

Let me go to the Holy Bible, since I am a retired Pastor, because I think it is important that we treat others properly. Here is what God says about the stranger living in our land. Granted, in this particular passage he is talking about the Jewish people: Num_15:15 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. (ESV) Also here is another passage, Num 15:16 ESV One law and one rule shall be for you and for the stranger who sojourns with you.” Notice that there is to be one law and one rule for all who live in the land. In other words, if someone wants to come and live among us, they must be willing to live as we do, not separate, together under the same rule of law as we live under.

So how do we treat the stranger among us today? Mat 25:35-40 ESV For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, (36) I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ (37) Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? (38) And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? (39) And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ (40) And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ If we are to be true, moral people, then we treat those who come among us as we would want to be treated. Jesus told the story of the Samaritan who came upon a Jewish man lying almost dead in the road, he bound up his wounds took him to the nearest inn and paid the innkeeper to care for the man. Others had passed by and left the man for dead, but not the man of Samaria. He did what was right and proper. At the same time what if that man wanted to live under his own law, instead of the law of the land?

Again according to the scriptures, anyone who wants to come and live in your land, must live under the same law as you live. Therefore if the stranger comes and wants to live in your land, he or she must agree to live under the same laws as you do. What we see is that people coming into our country, want to change our country to what they were used to in their old country. This is not how it works, therefore, when the stranger comes to our land, we must ascertain whether or not they will live under our way of life or not. If the person does not want to live as we do, then they will not be welcome in our land.

Going back to living in New York City, when I worked on Wall Street, I could eat lunch every day in a different type of place. Italian, Chinese, Polish, Caribbean or American. The folks who ran those restaurants, were citizens, and lived as all of us live, and they too would go to different places themselves, because we all enjoyed the differences, but still were all Americans.

We speak of being a nation of immigrants, and that is true to an extent, however, we are also a nation of people who have a shared history, and we should be sharing that history with all who come to our country to live so that they can assimilate into society. We have forgotten that our ancestors had to assimilate into the society and they did so. We cannot last as a nation if we do not assimilate these newer folks into our society, instead, we will continue to see the hatred blossom until we find ourselves in the midst of a civil war, which will dwarf the one in the 1860s, too many have already been killed, we need to get ourselves back into the beauty of our history, the beauty of our nation. It is always working to get better, but lately we are reverting to hate and forgetting where our nation was, and now is going. Let us not lose our history to the idea that we must get rid of that which is not what we want to hear or see.

All these cries for safe spaces, and clean talk, are really destroying who we are. We have always cherished the fact that we can have conversation with others who are different and always still get along. However, today it seems that those who want to hear only their own voices will do anything to silence those who have different ideas. Whether it is Global Warming, or politics or whatever it might be. Believe me we are actually hurting ourselves, terribly by not allowing ourselves to hear dissenting opinions, it may just be that we find that those who differ also have some good ideas.

How do we treat the stranger? With respect, and honor, not with automatic hatred.

Tell me what you think, leave a comment, that we might have a conversation.

 

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