Love him as yourself.

This post may offend you.

And maybe that's okay.

“‘When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.'"  Leviticus 19:32-34 I went with dear friends to prayer walk an area of our city that is home to many Latino immigrants.  It's a place that most of us Americans wouldn't subject ourselves to driving through - much less live in.  Yet for others it's better than what they left behind.

As we walked down the streets and women graciously welcomed us into their homes, I was overwhelmed with God's goodness and the hospitality that poured from the smiles on their faces. Hospitality needs no translation.

We entered the covered porch area of one of the homes at the request of a sweet young girl.  I was so excited to see a few chicken coops outside the front door!  (If you didn't know, I'm begging John to let me get a couple chickens when we move in June...)  As we came into the living room, I said my hellos and quickly asked to go visit the hens.  I made some funny 'chick, chick, chick' rambles and all the birds, roosters included, graciously answered with all kinds of cackles and crows. When I felt sufficiently acquainted, I joined everyone back in the house.

There in the living room we began to ask for prayer requests from the little girl's mom.  She shared that her husband was in their home country trying to make his way back to his family.  He's been trying for two months, and is risking his life and finances to see her and his two children again.

Before we began to petition the Lord in prayer, I asked if she had a picture of him.  She reached for it on a shelf and I heard my friend translate that those chickens outside were his. (This precious wife has been caring for them while he is away.)  She handed us the photograph.  It was of all four of them.  A beautiful family.  There were painted butterfiles in the background.  I wept.

As the tears trickled down my face, God spoke to me and said, "This man cares for all that I've created - do I not care for him?"  A man that cares for his wife.  A man that cares for his children.  A man that cares for his chickens.  Striving to be united with all of them in a place that offers hope for their future.  Doesn't God care for him?  Do we care for him?

I know that we can get all political in this discussion, but I'd rather get Biblical.  They are your neighbors.  (Luke 10:25-37)  No matter your prejudices and assumptions, we are all loved by God.  And we have to live in these days of tension as if we know His Word.

The time I shared with God's people in Mexico City earlier this year proved to me that other believers know how to love their neighbor.  You see, I was a foreigner there - yet treated as if I were family.  No one there had anything to protect - no pretention, no material idolatry.  Whatever they had was mine.  I wasn't a threat to their way of life.  Are some a threat to ours?  

What were the priest and Levite protecting as they walked down that road from Jerusalem to Jericho?

What are we protecting?

Love him as yourself.  Love your neighbor as yourself.  Love.

"El que no ama no conoce a Dios, porque Dios es amor."  1 Juan 4:8


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