Thursday, May 30, 2013

Kingdom Citizenship

"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 19:34)

Amidst the political and social debate about asylum seekers in Australia stands this biblical mandate about how to treat foreigners.  But before you write it off as Old Testament law, this mandate is echoed through the words and actions of Jesus Christ, who was the fulfillment of Old Testament law and prophecy. 

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor...Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing." (Luke 4:18,21)

This prophetic mission of Jesus was preached in His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5), illustrated in His story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10), evaluated in His separation of the Sheep & Goats (Matthew 25) and commanded in His Great Commission (Matthew 28). 

A political worldview determines the treatment of foreigners according to political advantage.  

A humanistic worldview determines the treatment of foreigners according to social interests.

However, a kingdom worldview determines the treatment of foreigners according to biblical values as personified in the person of Jesus Christ.

I am getting a little tired of seeing asylum seekers and refugees being used as a political football or social punching bag by people who are so consumed by preserving a way of life that they have forgotten the true value of life.  Labels and judgements only serve to depersonalize the stories of human beings whose humanity has been violated and exploited by a self-serving world.  We need to stop justifying actions that perpetuate the vulnerability of people who have been created in the same image of God as you and I.  We need to embrace this biblical mandate that a "foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born" by valuing our kingdom citizenship above our national identity.  Paul puts our national identity into perspective in his letter to the Ephesians by reminding us that, in Christ, we "are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household."

We have a divinely appointed responsibility to challenge any government policy, social attitude or racial prejudice that denies, distorts or devalues the image of God in any human being!  As kingdom citizens, may the life of Jesus Christ define the way we interact with the lives of foreigners and recreate a world where God's image is restored in His creation.

Published in 7th February 2014 edition of the WARCRY and Blog Winner of the Creative Arts 2014 Competition

1 comment:

  1. I like this. But all I have are questions: Loo at the Copts in Egypt: What happens when those laws are informed by Sharia or nihilistic amoralism? Is opposing sharia being culturally insensitive? Indeed is opposing/disagreeing with non-assimilation racism? We cannot allow ideology to guide our tholeogy in answering these important issues.