"Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt." - Exodus 23:9
As I was reading through the book of Exodus the other day, the above verse really stood out to me. I think that it reveals a fundamental problem that many churches and Christians have when it comes to the lost around them. I'm afraid too many Christians today have forgotten where they came from.
The word oppress has many meanings, one of them means to put down. This is the way that many lost people see us Christians. They see us looking down our noses at them, making condescending statements about them, they see us condemning them rather than condemning their sin. The Lord warned Moses and the children of Israel not to oppress a stranger. He told them that they knew what it was like to be a stranger because of their time in bondage to the Egyptians.
As Christians, we must never forget where we came from! We know the heart of a lost person, because we used to be one. Before we trusted Christ as our Savior, we were strangers to Him, we were in bondage to our sin and to the world. The Lord was reminding Israel of how they were treated by the Egyptians and was telling them not to treat strangers the same way. Think back to your days as a lost person and remember how you felt, think about your burdens, think about your sorrows, and how you just simply needed someone to show you the love of Jesus Christ. Please do not misunderstand what I saying, we cannot and must not overlook sin or turn a blind eye to it, but we must show those around us that we care.
During Pastors Conference at FBC Jacksonville Johnny Hunt made the following statement, "The longer I'm a part of God's family, the further removed I am from those for who Christ died." That is such a sobering thought! Too many Christians in our churches today have isolated themselves in a bubble from the world around them. The result of this is that they have forgotten where they came from, they have forgotten the heart of a lost person, and they have become cold to the lost.
May God break our hearts and give us a consuming compassion for the stranger and the lost! Have you forgotten who you were and where you came from before Christ saved you?
Prayer For Today:
Heavenly Father, may I never forget who I was and where I came from before You saved me! Lord, break my heart for those who are lost and give me a consuming passion for those who are hurting and desperately need You! Father, thank You for Your mercy and grace demonstrated toward me when You saved my unworthy and wretched soul! As You have loved me, shown me mercy, shown Your grace to me, forgiven me, help me to do the same to those that are still in bondage to sin. In Jesus name, Amen!