What does the Bible say about xenophobia?

Xenophobia is the fear or hatred of foreigners or strangers, and is a problem that has plagued societies throughout history. The Bible has much to say about the treatment of foreigners and strangers, and offers guidance on how to overcome the fear and prejudice that can lead to xenophobia.

One of the most prominent themes in the Bible is the idea of hospitality towards strangers. In the book of Leviticus, for example, the Israelites are commanded to "love your neighbor as yourself," and are explicitly told to love the stranger that resides with them (Leviticus 19:33-34). Similarly, in the book of Deuteronomy, the Israelites are reminded that they were once strangers in the land of Egypt, and are therefore commanded to show kindness to strangers (Deuteronomy 10:19).

In the New Testament, Jesus teaches his followers to love their enemies and to pray for those who persecute them (Matthew 5:44). He also tells his disciples to welcome strangers and to care for the needy, saying, "For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me" (Matthew 25:35).

The Bible also condemns the mistreatment of foreigners and strangers. In the book of Exodus, for example, the Israelites are warned not to oppress the stranger, for they themselves were once strangers in Egypt (Exodus 22:21). Similarly, in the book of Zechariah, the Israelites are reminded that God loves justice and mercy, and that they should therefore not oppress the widow, the orphan, the stranger, or the poor (Zechariah 7:9-10).

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Jamie Larson