The Christian and the Immigrant

Leviticus 19:33-34 “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”

“People are commanded to cultivate equity toward all without exception. For, if no mention had been made of strangers, the Israelites would have thought that, provided they had not injured any one of their own nation, they had fully discharged their duty; but, when God recommends guests and sojourners to them, just as if they had been their own kindred, they thence understand that equity is to be cultivated constantly and toward all men. Nor is it without cause that God interposes Himself and His protection, lest injury should be done to strangers; for since they have no one who would submit to ill-will in their defense, they are most exposed to the violence and various oppressions of the ungodly, than as if they were under the shelter of domestic securities….”

“He recommends strangers to them on this ground, that the people, who had themselves been sojourners in Egypt, being mindful of their ancient condition, ought to deal more kindly to strangers; for although they were at last oppressed by cruel tyranny, still they were bound to consider their entrance there, vis., that poverty and hunger had driven their forefathers thither, and that they had been received hospitably, when they were in need of aid from others…. Moreover, it must be observed that, in the second passage, they are commanded to love strangers and foreigners as themselves. Hence it appears that the name of neighbour is not confined to our kindred, or such other persons with whom we are nearly connected, but extends to the whole human race; as Christ shews in the person of the Samaritan, who had compassion on an unknown man (Luke 10:30).”

“He confirms the foregoing decree by a reference to the nature of God himself; for the vile and abject condition of those with whom we have to do, causes us to injure them the more wantonly, because they seem to be altogether deserted. But God declares that their unhappy lot is no obstacle to His administering succor to them… In short, God distinguishes Himself from men, who are carried away by outward appearance, to hold the rich in honour, and the poor in contempt; to favour the beautiful or the eloquent, and to despise the unseemly… [it is] an unjust judgment, which diverts us from the cause itself, when our minds are prejudiced by what ought not to be taken into account.” (John Calvin)