For the entire ten years we lived in a rural Pennsylvania community we were considered the “New People”. I felt better when I learned that there were other “New People” just up the road from us. They were from New Jersey and had lived there since the 1950’s!
In a more serious light the hysteria and anger over “New People” (Mexicans, Arabs, Muslims, Asians) has culminated in the most recent massacre in New Zealand. How we as Christians to respond must be linked to how Jesus responded to hatred and prejudice. Jesus loved the immigrant, the stranger and amazingly so even His enemies. Jesus was not angry with Samaritans who had come from another place and worshipped differently than Jews. Jesus did not protest about the brutal Roman rule or even agitate for the removal of Herod, who had murdered his cousin John the Baptist. Maybe Jesus was accepting of the “New People” because he knew what being rejected felt like.
He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. John 1:10-11 NKJV
Change can be difficult and unsettling, especially if we feel we are threatened by those new and different circumstances. But no matter what situation we find ourselves in the only true place of peace and acceptance is not in being surrounded by “Our People”. Real peace comes as a result of being adopted into God’s family by the blood of Jesus Christ.
I was thinking how last Wednesday a friends of ours; who is one of those, “New People” became a U.S. citizen. He and His family eat different food, speak a different language and has a different culture. But today Raj and I both have exactly the same rights, responsibilities and privileges. In the same way, when Jesus laid down His life on the cross to pay for our sins, we gained the privilege of citizenzenship and includsion in the community of God. Yes as His children, we may always be treated as the “New People”; but God calls us His own. How much more should we be ready to embrace whoever He has allowed to live just down the street in our town?
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, Philippians 3:20 NKJV