“You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor. You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not stand up against the life of your neighbor: I am the Lord.”(Leviticus 19:15-16)
The theme of our passage from Leviticus 19 can be summed up by verse 18, to love your neighbor as yourself. We remember that Jesus quoted that verse when he defined neighbor to be one’s fellow human being, no matter what race, ethnicity or religion. Thus these verses call us to deal honestly and truthfully with all people. We are not to cheat or lie but are to be charitable, hospitable and gracious to all not just to our relatives or fellow countrymen. We should treat even the sojourners, the foreigners in our midst, as our neighbors. We cannot deny them justice or mistreat them in any way.
In the case of Israel, we must remember that such aliens were not Israelites and yet they were to be tolerated and respected as long as they did not practice idolatry or create trouble. While in modern America we do not restrict the free exercise of religion, this idea is a good point for us to consider. If people are willing to live peaceably within our midst, then we ought not show them prejudice, disrespect or hatred. Rather, as Christians we should treat them with the love, compassion and acceptance of Jesus Christ so that they too may come into the Kingdom of God. The lives of all people matter to God even though He does not matter to all people. And yet He loves them. So should we.