‘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)
In giving the Israelites instructions on how to live, the Lord felt it was important for them to remember their humble beginnings as slaves in Egypt. Though they would be wealthy in their new land with God’s abundant blessing, they didn’t always know wealth and prosperity.
It’s easy to forget where we came from, isn’t it? Sometimes we expect people to be at the place where we are – all the while forgetting how long it took us to get there. There’s even a temptation in Christianity to expect new followers of Christ to somehow know all there is to know about faith. The fact is, those who are mature took a long time to reach that place, and it’s unfair to expect someone else to skip all of the steps required in the process.
This law was really a means of grace when we look at it. God was telling the people to show grace to other when they come from a different place and don’t understand yet how to live as you live. Welcome them into your community – treat them with love. Remember that you are on a journey, too… you’re just a bit further along the path.
Father God, You have been so gracious with me. You have been quick to be patient, and You have extended forgiveness far beyond anything I deserve. Give me a humble spirit to show patience and grace and forgiveness to those who come from a different place – who aren’t as far along the path as I am. Let me love others the way You have loved me, and in doing so, let my life declare that You are the Lord my God.