We live in a multicultural society. Some say multiculturalism isn’t working as it should. Others argue that it is our only hope for the future. I’ll leave the debate to the experts. What I would like to share is what Jesus taught me about getting along in a multicultural society.

     Jesus said; “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Matthew 19:19) As the world gets smaller and as people from all over the world come to Canada we will need to do as Jesus tells us. My parents were immigrants and I remember how important a kind word and friendly help was to our family. A few months ago I found myself driving a young Muslim man to Friday prayers at an Ottawa Mosque. He was my neighbor in the sense that I knew him and we were friends. I have prayed for him many times in the name of Jesus and I helped him get to the Mosque because of Jesus’ command to ‘love my neighbor’. My young Muslim friend was not offended. Rather he was thankful for my neighborly help.

Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:29-37 teaches that strangers who may have cultural habits very different from ours are capable of great acts of compassion. Jesus taught that a person’s neighbor is anyone who responds to a need for mercy or help when misfortune falls. The Bible tells us that of the three who came upon the injured man it was the stranger who provided help that was the real neighbor rather than the injured man’s ‘countrymen’. Sometimes we get uneasy when surrounded by people who don’t share our cultural mindset but faith in Jesus provides a solid foundation on which to build relationships.

Tolerance is a long held Biblical tradition; “Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 23:9) God based this requirement on empathy which is an essential ingredient in a pluralistic society. Sometimes, people with differences will rub each other the wrong way. Jesus taught us what to do in those circumstances as well. We are to use selfless love not force. Jesus taught me that love is the most persuasive weapon available to us; “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:44,45) Jesus knew that we are all in this together.

Jesus’ teachings have so much to offer us in our journey in a multicultural society. You will find them in the Holy Bible.   Praise the Lord!

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