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Know the Heart of a Stranger

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Know the Heart of a Stranger

Of all the people on earth who should be able to relate to and care for strangers, it ought to be Christians. When you really think about it, the entire story of God’s people is a story of outsiders, of strangers and foreigners who pushed through.

  • Abraham the Father of faith obeyed God and left his family, people and land to live as a stranger. There are many times recorded in the Bible where Abraham felt vulnerable and fearful.
  • Joseph, approximately 16 years old, was sold by his own brothers into slavery. He found himself a stranger in Egypt. He eventually became great—second only to Pharaoh—in a foreign land. He was used of God for a divine purpose. Yet he asked that when his people returned home that they take his home bury him in his homeland.
  • Moses was Hebrew born in Egypt at a time when his people were slaves to Pharaoh. The Hebrews numbers were strong so Pharaoh decreed all baby boys be killed. Moses mother hid him in a basket that floated down the river, and Pharaoh’s daughter rescued him and adopted him as her own. He grew up in the palace as a stranger. He never quite fit in. He became the deliverer of his people and led them to the promised land.

80 years later, as the Israelites were about to settle into the Promised Land, their own country, God appealed to their sense of strangeness. “You shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the heart of a stranger, because you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”[1]

God said, “You know the heart of a stranger. Don’t ever forget that uncomfortable feeling.

Use it for my purposes! God went on to say; it’s repugnant to Me that you would go so far as to oppress and oppose the stranger among you when I took care of you at a time when you felt like a stranger in a strange land.

If God had a heart for them in that situation, then they were to have a heart for others, even if the others were strangers and strange to them. The same is true for us today. We are called to love a stranger.


For more on this topic, listen to the podcast, “Love the Stranger.”

[1] Exodus 23:9 NKJV


About Ron Bontrager

Lead Pastor of Lakeview Church in Indianapolis.

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