I wonder if God is expediting the completion of the Great Commission by having people from all the nations move in next door to people like you and me.

One of my heroes in the faith, A.B. Simpson, the founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, started a worldwide moment when he felt called by God to leave a traditional stuck-in-the-mud church to plant churches among the needy refugees pouring in from Europe in New York in the mid-1800’s. It was a commitment to compassion and action fueled by the transformation in his life to Pursue Jesus and Practice Love.

By now you probably know, there are currently 65 million people displaced globally. It represents the worst humanitarian crisis in the world since WWII, and yet it seems like the news cycle is growing weary of the story. It is frequently ignored by mainstream media. We tune it out as “old news.”

While there are good reasons to examine those who would do harm to our country, as well as the need to protect our borders, sadly, when it comes to refugees, many evangelicals support banning them from the U.S. altogether.

Increasingly, it seems, we can quickly suspect anyone who’s not “one of us.” Consider what happens in your own heart when someone gets in your space that is totally different from you.

A religious leader asked Jesus to unpack the theological idea behind the word “neighbor” (the guy had decided there were certain kinds of people he didn’t have to have anything to do with). Luke 10:25-37

In response, Jesus told a story.  The story made a hero out of a despised foreigner with a heretical religion – a Samaritan.  The hero’s love-in-action lifestyle to a person in serious need of help is portrayed against the non-action and disdain of local congregation leadership.  What’s the point of the story?  Be like the Samaritan.

Re-reading this powerful story this week, made me stop and think about my life. It also made me stop and think about the state of the church in our community.

God’s stated plan for you and me (and the greater church we participate in and serve) is to love those unlike us but living near us by meeting tangible needs in the name of Jesus. How does his desire to love others “not like you” find practical expression in your life, and in the life of your church?

For me, this is a daily challenge, to love others as Jesus loves me, regardless of their background or differences from me. (John 13:33-35). May God help us truly show love to “those not like us.”