You must not mistreat or oppress foreigners in any way. Remember, you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt. You must not exploit a widow or an orphan. If you exploit them in any way and they cry out to me, then I will certainly hear their cry. My anger will blaze against you, and I will kill you with the sword. Then your wives will be widows and your children fatherless. —Exodus 22:21, NLT
The Law God delivered to Moses for governing Israel took care to provide for some measure of social justice. Because God cares for the weak, the vulnerable, the poor, and foreigners, the law made provision to protect them from the powerful among the people. Justice always guarantees equality for every human being, but the correction of injustice always implies action on both sides. There is justice for the victim (the bright side) and justice against the unjust (the dark side).
The New Testament explains that the consequences of injustice as follows: No se dejen engañar: nadie puede burlarse de la justicia de Dios. Siempre se cosecha lo que se siembra (Galatians 6:7). In telling the people of Israel not to mistreat nor oppress foreigners, the LORD reminded them that they had recently been foreigners in Egypt. For them to mistreat foreigners in their own Promised Land would turn them into hypocrites and would expose them to the same judgment the Egyptians had recently suffered. In the same way, God promised divine defense for orphans and widows. Mistreating them would bring “justice against” the Israelites, who beforehand had received God’s “justice for.”
Today, the people of immigration’s receptor nations should remember that they have enjoyed the bright side of God’s justice. If they oppress foreigners, they will expose themselves to the dark side. If their ancestors were immigrants in the nation where they were born, they should understand their debt to those who confronted many troubles and hard trials to establish their families in a new home. In view of such precedents, justice demands that the present generation should not commit personal acts nor make laws that mistreat those who enter their country with the same problems, challenges, and disadvantages previous generations of immigrants faced.
Immigrants who suffer injustice should understand, as the ancient Sextus Empiricus said, “Est mola tarda dei, verum molit illa minutim.” (The wheels of the mill of justice gring slowly, but exceedingly fine.) When justice finally comes to your life, be sure to stay on its bright side.
Dr. Joseph Castleberry is President of Northwest University in Kirkland Washington. He is the author of Your Deepest Dream: Discovering God’s Vision for Your Life and The Kingdom Net: Learning to Network Like Jesus. Follow him on Twitter at @DrCastleberry and at http://www.facebook.com/Joseph.Castleberry.