The Key to Inclusivity

Leviticus 19:33-34 NKJV

And if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him. The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.

For most people in the United States, February is designated as the month that love is shared, relationships are strengthened, and recognition is given to the contributions of Black people to the advancement of the world.

The text from the book of Leviticus is written to give instruction to the developing nation of Israel. They knew what it was like to be ostracized and marginalized, so they were instructed by God Himself to love the stranger who lived in their community as if they were born into their family. They were told to love them as they loved themselves. This directive of inclusivity is mimicked in today’s culture with the now familiar acronym, DEI, or Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Those unfamiliar with the text found in Leviticus might think DEI to be a newly conceived and radical idea. But, the book of Leviticus was written somewhere 1400 BC and it was very direct and unequivocal in its directive to be equitable to those who were of diverse backgrounds, including them as if they were their own flesh and blood.

What greater love can there be than love that embraces those who are different from us and loving them as if they are the same? Just imagine the world we would be living in if this command had been obeyed from the time it was written until now. The wars that would have been avoided; the inhuman treatment inflicted on people who were different than others would never have happened; hunger, poverty, homelessness, racism, sexism, would have never existed.

It’s time that we collectively determine that we are going to be the generation who loves people of all races, creeds, colors, cultures, socioeconomic, or social status. We must not allow those differences to determine who or how we will love. If there is a stranger among us, anyone who is not like us in any way, we have to accept the challenge and be the generation who loves them anyway.
There is no better way to celebrate a month of love, and a month set aside to recognize the contributions of Black people, strangers by dispersion, than to show and give love universally. Let us commit to adhering to the directive given to the Children of Israel by God Himself by loving the strangers in our communities as we love ourselves.

Let us also appreciate the contributions of the strangers in our communities who continue to contribute to the betterment of humanity through their selfless acts of love. Love, my brothers and sisters, is the key ingredient of inclusivity.

Be Blessed!

Rev. J. Loren Russell is an associate minister at Goodwill Baptist Church and is the spiritual leader of both LaGree Baptist Church and the Evangelical Church of God, all in the Bronx, President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial & Strategic Consulting (718-328-8096), and hosts “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” on Monday nights from 8:00 – 10:00 PM on Facebook Live. Be sure to Friend “Matters of Faith” on YouTube and email us at Order your copy of Matters of Faith: The eBook at

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