Saturday, April 27, 2013

Crossing X Off My List

Let me just say that the dictionary wasn’t much help in coming up with a word, a topic, anything to write about for the letter X. Last year I cheated and used a word with that difficult letter in the second spot. On second thought, cheat sounds a little harsh. Let’s say that I made an eXception in a difficult situation. Knowing already that I’m likely to do something similar with the letter Z a few days from now, I wanted to behave today.  That left me with xenophobia,  defined as “a fear or hatred of foreigners.”

With yet another terror attack just days behind us, the word grabbed my attention. I know it to be something to guard against in my own life. While I don‘t fear or hate anybody, there are people who stand out in a crowd to me now solely on the basis of their looks. It bothers me that I notice them. It’s not all foreigners that attract my attention, just those with physical attributes similar to those suspected in recent bombings and blow-ups of one kind or another. Life is surely becoming increasingly difficult for those innocent folk who are “profiled” by people like me.

My own parents were immigrants to a foreign land. Naturalized citizens later in life, they are no different on that account than the man who lies in a hospital bed at the moment, suspected of a role in the Boston Marathon bombings. It’s the actions of the latter that define him, not his looks. I constantly need to remind myself not to judge a human book by its cover, but to look at what his life story itself has to say.

The Bible reminds us that like the Gentiles of old, we believers were once “foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12, emphasis mine). And it was through the actions of one man, Jesus, that we have been welcomed into citizenship in Heaven.

It was also when Abraham welcomed strangers into his tent one day and provided a meal for them that he received the announcement of Sarah’s impending pregnancy - the beginning of the fulfillment of a promise - and in talking to them that he learned of God’s plans to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. We are reminded later in God’s Book to welcome the aliens among us, because we never know when one might be a messenger from Him.

Far from ignoring people‘s looks, that verse inspires me to take another look at those who come to my attention, and perhaps to listen a little more closely to what they have to say. I simply don’t want to miss any angels God cares to send my way! 

 “Keep on loving each other as brothers. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.”
(Hebrews 13:1-2 NIV)


  1. Something we all have weigh and consider in light of current events.

  2. I had considered using xenophobia for my X letter but chose something easier to talk about. Great post; a good reminder to consider all the information available to us and not just external appearances.


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