Tuesday, January 2, 2001

Zechariah 7:9-10 -- On Strangers

"Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother:
And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart."
Zechariah 7:9-10

This is some great advice from God. :)  When he talks about true judgment, I think about the mote-beam parable... so many of us blindly try to fix other people, when we are the ones that need the most fixing.  And when we are blind and trying to do that kind of surgery, more often than not, we're going to inflict greater damage.  So, God counsels us instead to learn to love them.

True judgment... looking at yourself first, and showing others the mercy and compassion that we all need from others, and from God.  If we truly did to others as we would have them do unto us, we would never berate or condemn them, but try to lift them up, offering them every chance and opportunity that God has afforded us.  And we wouldn't try to take advantage of each other... no matter what.  We would love people who were unlike ourselves, as hard as that sometimes is.

I like how God throws stranger in there with widow, fatherless, and poor.  We know that widows and orphans and "the poor" need help... and sometimes we even make attempts to provide it, but what about the stranger... and what about single-parent households for that matter?  It doesn't say orphans... it says "fatherless." :)  There are so many people in need of our help... strangers among them. :)  Usually the only time that I hear the word stranger around is when children are being counseled not to talk to "strangers."  We automatically assume that people that we don't know are dangerous... we have an enormous bias against strangers.  Not that I am counseling you not to say that to your children, but just as an example.  People that we don't know, understand, or accept are all lumped into the stranger category... and we can't really get out of it by giving them other labels... they are still strangers, and we are still commanded to avoid oppressing them. :)  And never to imagine evil against anyone... God hates to see his children fighting. :)

Today, let's take Hebrews 13:2 to heart: "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."

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