#TreasuredTruth #252Of366 #RawderKidulaKedaha
Joining High School for me was different, apart from being treated as a stranger for being a new student, I also reported two weeks late, so even amongst the new students, I was a stranger. It took some days for me to adjust and win a few friends over. The season of being treated differently was uneasy, yet it just lasted few days. It was ironic being treated strangely by strangers, most of whom would soon become my friends and classmates for four years.
Three years later, we proved to ourselves that we did not learn anything, because as final year students, we devalued the new students who joined, dismissing them because they were strange and different. We did everything as was done unto us, including torturing them with the nickname ‘monos’. We treated them as outsiders, laughing at them when they make mistakes and giving them wrong directions. In clubs, we worked hard to maintain our cliques. We had forgotten that in a few months, we would graduate from High school and head on to colleges and universities where we would be strangers again.
Everyone has a taste of being treated differently, and we also have treated others differently. We always open up to people who welcome us; everyone wants to belong, but we find it difficult to also welcome others in our midst. Even in our churches and in fellowships, our insecurities drive out love for new members as we end up feeling threatened, worried that our positions will be taken. So when a new member joins the music ministry, instead of showing them ropes, we seclude them, especially when we realize that they can sing well.
God calls us to welcome the strangers amongst us, ‘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) God loved us and sent His only son to die for our sins while we were still strangers. He is calling us to love those of different races, tribes, colour, and even those of different beliefs.
Welcoming strangers can be very uncomfortable, especially in today’s society; but for a community to survive, it takes a group of strangers to work together: Welcoming the stranger forces us to grow beyond our race and tribal instincts. The stranger might be coming with gifts; we can learn from them and grow. We may find out that they are not very different after all. Without introducing something new, we stagnate, something new starts of as ‘strange’ and all we need to do is embrace it.
In Mark 12:31 we are reminded to love our neighbours as ourselves; well, even if the neighbor turns out to be a stranger, may they experience God’s love through us. Remember you were once a stranger and love changed that.