Tuesday, September 26 2023 - 3:32 AM

The Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Pacific Southwest

Photo by Martina Egli

What to do With Strangers

If we are to get anything from Scripture, it is this—that we are our brother’s and sister’s keepers, and that we are to be kind to “strangers.” The anonymous faces we pass on the streets and in stores bear a strong resemblance to our own because we are strangers to them. They are but a reflection of us.

If we could re-trace the steps of each one’s journey—all the way back to the moment they came out of their mother’s womb, we would find a vulnerable infant lying in their mother’s arms. Or we’d find them in a hospital nursery, or a mid-wife’s lap, or in a dumpster, or in a sterile orphanage bed, desperately wanting to be touched and loved. We didn’t ask to be born—nor were we given the opportunity to pick our parents, or our socio-economic status. Like everyone else, we simply came out—to be loved, hated, cherished, abused, or killed.

There Are No Strangers

In God’s order there are no strangers, no unidentified persons—no dominant, preferred players. Everyone counts equally, and everyone deserves to be loved. Everyone belongs to Him. Prejudice is the incredible denial of one’s own origins—the ultimate proclamation of one’s ignorance! It’s like taking a bullhorn and shouting, “I AM STUPID!”

Prejudice is ignorance on steroids because it ignores the universal truth that all are loved by God, and that all are equal in His sight (Romans 2:11).

Gene Stratton-Porter once said, “Do you know that being a stranger is the hardest thing that can happen to any one in all this world?” It’s hard because we were created to love—to interact with one another in intimate and lasting ways.

Questions for Dialogue

1. When was the first time you recognized thoughts of prejudice within yourself?

2. In your opinion is prejudice learned, or automatically built into our DNA?

3. In your view does prejudice increase or diminish with the amout of formal education that one has?

4. Which are we more likely to treat poorly, strangers, or people we know? Explain your response.

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About Rich DuBose

Rich DuBose

is director of Church Support Services for the Pacific Union Conference

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