“For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in.” – Matthew 25:35
“Who is my neighbor?” the lawyer asked after Jesus’ famous command to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus responded with a parable: A man had immigrated to Israel from Samaria. While traveling, he saw someone beaten and left for dead on the side of the road. The religious leaders had passed by, too fearful to stop and offer help. But the foreigner, the immigrant, the Samaritan, stopped and helped the man. Jesus asks the lawyer, “Who was the neighbor?” (Luke 10: 25-37)
The point Jesus was making was we ALL should respond like the Samaritan who helped regardless of nationality. In fact, our neighbor is all mankind. Our neighbor includes people of all ethnicities: refugee, immigrant, or the person born next door. Our neighbor is everyone – especially those who are hurting.
Jesus continues and says – “When you feed the hungry when you give a drink to the thirsty when you offer hospitality to the stranger, the immigrant or refugee, that is how you treated Me (my paraphrase).” In other words, how we respond to refugees and immigrants is how we respond to Jesus. How we treat those hurting and in need is how we treat Jesus. And for followers of Jesus, this is an incredible opportunity to demonstrate God’s love through our response to strangers, refugees, and immigrants living in our local communities.
So how are you doing? The government’s role is to decide which immigrants and refugees can enter. It’s their role to protect the citizens, and our role is to care for and reflect the love of Jesus. Period.
Can people see Jesus in the way you care for refugees, immigrants, and the hurting in your community or do you need a change of heart? Ask God to help you love others like the Samaritan (the immigrant) loved the wounded man.