Have you ever contemplated what it really means to be a welcomer? In the past decade or so, I have spent more of my time being welcomed by very kind families into their homes in foreign lands. I have been shown enormous generosity and hospitality—me—a stranger in their lands.
While currently living in America, I have looked around me at the multitudes of international individuals and families living in major cities around the US. It seems to me people have come here from nearly every country in the world. Over a decade ago, it was not unusual to hear of churches hosting a friendship club or some other ministry to reach out, offer love, extend friendship and help to the international community (to both students and families). I believe that many churches desire to genuinely show Christ’s love to others. Some may even reflect upon Leviticus 19:34—“The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.”
While churches and church-related ministries have and are reaching out to the international community as a whole, I have observed first-hand the challenge that many churches and individuals face when showing that same hospitality, friendship, and assistance to the Muslim community. The media and events like 9/11 have instilled fear and misconceptions. Too many people are looking at all Muslims as the enemy. We would not want others to judge all Christians by the violent acts committed by some who call themselves Christians—nor by the immorality or immodesty displayed by some who claim to be Christians.
Christ calls us to love our neighbors as ourselves. He doesn’t give any exceptions. He even tells us to love our enemies. Yet, before we can love, we have to say hello, be friendly and kind, and show hospitality.
The next time you encounter a Muslim in your grocery store, post office, coffee shop…smile and say “hello.”
—Lady of Prayer
Next see: Ask “How are you?” and Mean it!