“The Unusual and Strange People God Loves”
“The LORD watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.” Ps. 146:9
The Hebrew word that translates “sojourners” in English can also be rendered as “the foreigners,” “the strangers,” “resident aliens,” or “those residing outside their native land.” These are various choices from our English modern translations of the Bible. Also, the Hebrew word that translates in English as “watches over,” could be translated as “protects,” “looks after,” “preserves,” “stands guard over,” and “preserves.” These are the different choices from our English Bible translations.
Interestingly, God always works through his people, that is the church, to preserve, watch over, safeguard, and and protect the migrant, the undocumented, the refugees, the stranger, etc. These are the practical things Christians do and act upon. They are not theoretical activities, but practical and life-transforming interventions. This divine command is not optional and subjective to one’s feelings, cultural ideologies, individual preferences, or political preferences. The call to treat these individuals in God’s way is a moral issue that reflects the biblical notion of love and justice, and the essence or the soul of biblical religion. It stems from the very heart and character of the Christian God, who is both love and justice.
The call to treat the (im-) migrants and refugees with human dignity, love, and compassion is a non-negotiable activity. It is either Christians do what God commands or orders or they could choose to do the contrary. The pivotal issue here of providing godly, humane, and christian treatment to the needy and the poor is not a political issue nor is it bi-partisan concern, but a requirement for God’s people. This is a christian responsibility and entails exactly what it means to be the people of God. The people of God are called to be intentional about justice and obedient in regard to how God has designed how we should live in relation to other people who are economically vulnerable, politically disfranchised, culturally marginalized, and those who are deprived of justice, equity, and peace.
The underlying truth about this passage is this:
God loves the migrant.
God loves the immigrant.
God loves the refugee.
God loves the sojourner.
God loves the stranger.
God loves the outsider.
and this same God who loves these individuals of different marginalized economic, political, and cultural identities and statuses, wants his people to love them the same way. The biblical notion of divine love is never theoretical nor does it denote lip service; God’s love is universal, redemptive, empowering, relational, practical, and transgresses the racial line and transcends the ethnic divide. This is the manner the people of God should love and especially love those who are the recipients of God’s loving grace and kindness.
Loving people is not a political issue! It is a Gospel issue. Treating people with decency and dignity has nothing to do with one’s political choice and preference. It is the most Christian thing to do.