I remember a Sunday School lesson that we had many years ago, I think when we were in our Young Marrieds class many years ago. It went something like this. Our teacher before class had asked me and a few others to form a circle and chat with each about whatever and to not let anyone else into our circle. There was another circle of people in the room that was talking among themselves as well. Then a newcomer walked in the room. First the new person walked up to our circle and tried to join in. But we were told not to let anyone in, so we ignored that person. It was hard, but we did it. Then the new person went over to the other circle and that group welcomed the person with hugs and open arms.
The point our teacher was trying to get us to see was that we need to make sure that no one around us ever feels like an outsider looking in. Have you ever felt that way? Even after living where I do for a year now, where the family connections go back for generations, I still at times feel like an outsider looking in. But once a person accepts the call of God and asks Jesus into their heart, you become part of a new family. I became a daughter of the King when I asked Jesus to forgive me of my sins. What is so hard for me to understand is when people within the walls of a church exclude someone, I know I have been guilty of it myself. I guess since it is something that has happened to me personally I do really try to be mindful of not excluding anyone. This does put me out of my comfort zone at times. But the last time I checked the Bible, Jesus was a radical that was constantly calling the people to step out of what they knew and do things in a different way. Jesus’ way was radically different from anything the people were used to. They were used to the law, it was predictable. Loving people and meeting needs of people is not so predictable.
My challenge to myself is to not ever make an outsider feel left out. Is this an easy thing? No. Will I ever mess up? Yes. I am a sinner, saved by grace just like anyone else that accepts the free gift Jesus offers.