Unknown faces. Strange lands. Odd culture.
Living in a foreign country poses many challenges to both natives and migrants. Leaving behind friends and family for greener pastures can turn out to be a curse. Migrants have to adjust to a new environment and culture, leading to all sorts of problems.
On the other, the natives may feel threatened or uncomfortable when strangers suddenly appear in their locality in a matter of days. When there is a lack of empathy, natives tend to become unfriendly to the newcomers.
So, who's going to manage all these struggles? What's the role of the government in solving this conflict?
There has always been an inevitable battle between natives and strangers, which can be seen in the Bible's stories. In a time when cruel pharaohs and kings ruled lands, migrating to a new territory means being tricked, risking one's freedom, or getting killed.
In Rev. Emmanuel Oghene's "Surviving Among Strangers," he wanted to share God's wisdom about the issue of migration and the continuing battle between natives and strangers.
In this book, he shows that the pioneer ancestor of the Jews and father of the Christian faith was a migrant amongst the Canaanites by God's order. Rev. Emmanuel believes that the act of relocation to another land has a spiritual undertone beyond other reasons. While God did not stop Abraham from migrating to Egypt for economic reasons, he did not allow his son to do it for the same reason.
The author also reiterates that migration has been practiced long ago since Abraham's generation. Moses migrated from Egypt to Midian to find a safe place. Like his ancestor, Jacob had left Canaan for Haran to escape the threat of his twin brother, Esau. David and Jeroboam, on the other hand, fled from the land of Israel to outlive Kings Saul and Solomon, respectively. They then returned to become king of Israel after the death of Saul and Solomon.
Cultivating a compassionate and empathetic attitude towards migration is the necessary first step to developing a culture of compassion among the natives and strangers.
Jesus Christ has talked about loving those who we think to threaten our community.
Leviticus 19:33 teaches us that when a stranger sojourn with you in your land, you shall not do them wrong. You shall treat the strangers as the native among you.