People who read the news probably know about the ugly attacks on foreigners in South Africa. It was, among other things, spurred on by the comments of the Zulu king Goodwill Zwelithini, supported by the president’s son, Edward Zuma. Xenophobia is described as an intense or irrational dislike or fear of people from other countries.
The reason for the attacks was supposed to be that foreigners steal the jobs of indigenous people. It is a smoke screen, because immigrants are often hardworking people who contribute to the welfare of a country. Looting their shops had nothing to do with their supposed stealing of jobs.
What is interesting is the relationship between the xenophobic attacks in South Africa, and those against the citizens of God’s Kingdom. The resemblance is that Christians are ‘foreigners’ who live in a country ruled by the devil.1 The ruler of the kingdom of darkness harasses and injures citizens of the Kingdom of Light. It is often not physical, but emotional and spiritual. It aligns with the definition of the word ‘xenophobia,’ an intense dislike of people (in this case those who belong to God).
Two facts about the xenophobic attacks against Christians are:
- Satan, the devil, is ruler of this present world.1
- We are saved out of the kingdom of darkness and brought into the Kingdom of Light.2 The devil, the ruler of the dark kingdom, hates those who defected from his kingdom.
Why does the omnipotent Creator God allow the ruler, or prince of this world, to harass His people? God allows it, because He is testing us to find out if we will remain loyal to Him? Eternity is a long time, and God wants to be sure we will continue to love Him. We know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance produces character, and character hope. Hope does not disappoint, since God has poured out His love in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. 3
While we can never condone xenophobia in the world, we as faithful followers of Jesus have to remember that xenophobic attacks on Christians will never stop this side of the grave. However, we always have help, ‘…Our help comes from the Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth.’ 4 Call upon the Lord, because He hears and acts.
- 1 John 5:19, ‘We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.’
- Colossians 1:13, ‘For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves.’
- Romans 5:4-5
- Psalm 121:1