Now if a sojourner or stranger close to you becomes rich, and one of your brethren who dwells by him becomes poor, and sells himself to the stranger or sojourner close to you, or to a member of the stranger’s family, after he is sold he may be redeemed again. (Leviticus 25:47-48)
In Jewish thought, the ultimate degradation for an Israelite was to be sold to a non-Israelite. Not only was it degrading in a social sense but there was the potential threat that the Israelite would be forced to bow the knee to foreign gods. Therefore, their kinsmen were encouraged to redeem their brother as soon as possible but without depriving his master of their rights. In other words, even in this unfortunate scenario, law and principle had to be followed. In fact, to steal or cheat a non-Israelite was considered to be worse than stealing from an Israelite.
The thinking is that if we, as God’s people, deal falsely with a brother in the faith, he will rail against us. On the other hand, if we deal falsely with a foreigner, he will rail against us, God’s people at large and, most importantly, our God. In short, because we are His people, we are the guardians of His reputation in this world. Therefore, we are always to conduct ourselves in a manner that sanctifies His Name and, especially in the sight of those who are not considered His people. The stark reality is our actions and attitudes may play a determining role in whether or not they see God in a positive light. Let’s put it this way: what do the people you meet think about our God after meeting you? How do you handle His reputation when dealing with your brother and those in the world?
When Messiah commissioned His disciples to be His witnesses, He specified they were to start in Jerusalem and Judea but were also to reach out to those in Samaria and the entire world. In other words, we are called to those who are like us, to those who don’t like us and to those we don’t like. Therefore, treat everyone with respect, justice and consideration because you are His representative and ambassador. His reputation has been placed in our hands — handle it with care.
Blessings and Shalom,