And you are to love foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt. Deuteronomy 10:19 NIV
When I was in graduate school, I enjoyed being enrolled at an institution that had a diverse student population. Not only did students travel from all over the world to matriculate at our school, but there was also a rich economic and denominational diversity of students. We all attended classes together but at lunch and dinner we tended to eat at tables separated by ethnic groupings. Some of the American students soon learned that many of the international students had mastered a strategy of group study that could benefit all of us. And we needed to start sitting and studying with them rather than to confine ourselves to those with whom we were most familiar and comfortable.
It is very easy to develop subtle and not so subtle feelings of resentment towards people that are foreign born. Often their accents make it difficult to understand their speech and their customs can be so different that it makes them seem strange. In tough economic times foreigners can seem to be a drain on scarce resources that are needed to address the needs of those that are born and raised domestically. God instructed the Israelites to avoid having negative feelings towards foreigners. In fact God said to love foreigners. Reason #1 - they had been foreigners themselves.
But another reason to love foreigners is because every group has gifts, strengths and contributions to make to the larger community. Those that fail to love foreigners are those that forget their own experience and risk missing the unique blessings that can come through those that are different.
"God, give me a spirit that is open to loving all others. Amen."