The World Outside My Doorstep
Today, I went walking through a store. I passed two men arguing in Hindi. I walked beside a group of students chatting in some language I didn’t understand. I ran into a woman wearing a churidar kameez.
Where was I, you ask? …Kroger in Fort Worth, TX.
The United States is changing! If you don’t believe me, stop at any gas station or hotel. Listen to conversations as you walk through Walmart. Glance around the next time you are at a school function. Whether we are ready for it or not, the world has come to our doorstep. Whether we like it or not, immigration issues continue to be at the forefront of our political procedures.
What are we, as Christian women, supposed to do about it? We have lots of choices. We can ignore the changes and be content to do nothing. We can get frustrated because we don’t understand these people and we wish they would leave.
Or, we can love them like Jesus did.
Remember Our Citizenship is in Heaven
We often get our identity from our nationality, which causes us to look at internationals as outsiders or enemies. But we have an even greater citizenship. Yes, we are citizens of our home country, but this citizenship does not define us.
1 Peter 2:11 says, “Dear friends, I urge you as strangers and temporary residents, to abstain from fleshly desires that war against you.” Peter is pointing out that we are only temporary residents here on this earth. Paul reiterates this idea when he proclaims, “But our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for a Savior the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil 3:20).
When we realize that we are not United States citizens only, we are reminded that our international friends are not so different from us.
In fact, if our true citizenship is in heaven, we more closely resemble Christians from Kenya or India than some of our American neighbors!
Practice Hospitality…Hosting and Being Hosted
Many Christian women know how to be hospitable. We’ve been trained how to clean the house, prepare a meal, offer something to drink, set the table, and make small talk.
Many of us, though, only invite people who are like us to come over. But I challenge you to look around. Which international child plays on your son’s soccer team? Which international student sits next to you in class? Which waitress in an ethnic restaurant sees you so much that she knows your name? Maybe it’s time to start asking them to come to your home.
And I’ve got another question for you: Are you willing to go to their homes? In many cultures, relationships are built upon one’s willingness to go to a home and sit with someone for dinner. Are we, as Christians, willing to get out of our comfort zones and into the homes of internationals?
Remember that differences aren’t necessarily bad things
A person’s worldview is defined as the way she see the world. Our worldviews differ greatly. Sometimes, there are worldview issues that are wrong. If something in one’s worldview contradicts Scripture, it’s wrong.
But, many times, things are just different. Indians eating with their hands is different. Latin Americans greeting each other with a kiss on the cheek is different. Asians requiring people to take off their shoes before entering the house is different. But none of these is intrinsically wrong.
As you meet an international, observe her. What are the things she does differently? What can you do to show her that you care? Paul said that he became “all things to all people” that he might reach some of them (9:22). If it gave you an opportunity to share the love of Christ, would you eat with your hands or greet with a kiss or take off your shoes before you entered a home?
Love them like Jesus did
There are many examples in the Bible where Jesus addresses outsiders. He commends a centurion for his faith (Matt 8:10). He tells a parable about a Samaritan man as an example of a good neighbor (Luke 10:25-37). He tests a Gentile woman and then states that her request has been granted because of her faith (Matt 15:28).
Bottom line: Jesus loves foreigners.
Jesus loves foreigners so much that he died for them. In Galatians, Paul teaches that, “in Christ, there is no Jew or Greek” (Gal 3:28). When it comes to salvation, Jesus’ gift is for everyone. While we may never have to lay down our lives for our international neighbors, we must be willing to love them like Jesus does.
Don’t forget about the Great Commission
Jesus commanded his disciples, saying, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son, and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, even to the ends of the age.” (Matt 28:19-20, emphasis mine). Jesus had a global vision in mind. The gospel was never meant to stay among one people group, but to be carried to the ends of the earth.
Missionaries have been strategically taking this message across the globe for centuries, giving their lives to pass on the message of salvation to people who have never heard. And now some of these people are your community members.
We cannot ignore the Great Commission, especially when the nations are across the street.
In Revelation 7:9, John writes, “After this, I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the lamb.” Who knows? Maybe your neighbor or coworker or classmate will be among that multitude. But they won’t be there unless someone proclaims the good news of Jesus Christ with them. As Romans 10:14 says, “How can they hear without someone preaching?” Will you proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ?
The nations are waiting outside your door. What are we going to do about it?