Have you ever felt unloved? Unwanted? Part of the out crowd, never to be invited in.
If you have, you’re not alone. I have felt that feeling so many times that I’m still surprised at myself that I’ve allowed myself to feel hurt, disillusioned, and disappointed yet again. I mean…for cryin’ out loud…didn’t I see it coming?
I even get it. I see many of their points of view. Sometimes life is easier not including someone. But…does that make it right?
It’s always most surprising when it’s in the Church, though. Isn’t it? When you’re not invited to the thing; when you’re edged out; when someone has arrived only to leave you behind; when there’s a circle and there is no entry point.
It’s surprising because that’s our safe place. Right? The sanctuary…a place of refuge.
When you think of church, you think of a place you’re eager to get to. One might picture free-falling back into a 3-foot-deep floor made of pillows and all of their stress floating away like a feather on the wind as they finally make it to their refuge.
Unfortunately, in this case, the Church is full of fallible people just like you and just like me; and that often means our sanctuary can – at times – feel like a battleground at worst and a floor of eggshells not to be broken at the least.
People often get caught up in themselves, their own hurts, their own misconceptions, and even their own agendas – no matter how well meaning – even in church.
They often forget that we are commanded to love. We’re even told that all other commandments hinge upon the Greatest Commandment and it’s second…
Yet, how easily we slip into our Church roles and forget the main objective He assigned us.
We rush to our greeter station only to ignore the elderly woman on the back row. We exclude the mediocre but it’s okay because we were sure to praise their strengths before the aforementioned exclusion. We disregard this commandment because clearly that person doesn’t want me to love them as hateful as they behave. And the excuses go on and on.
I’m not saying it’s an easy assignment. We all know people that are hard to love. But…we’re not given allowances for whom or how we are to love.
There’s two things we must remember here:
1. We can’t change others, only how we respond to them. And…though we may be hurt it’s best that we remain humble and keep our eyes on Christ because all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. “All” includes you and I both. It’s also a reminder that while someone may seem perfect on Facebook they are just as imperfect as you and I, they are just as sinful. We should show them the grace that our Heavenly Father undeservingly shows us day after day or we are no better than those we cast judgment upon.
2. People, nor the Church, are our refuge. God is.
You see we’ve forgotten that the church isn’t our refuge, He is. We don’t need the group’s acceptance. We need His love, mercy, and grace… which all are accompanied by His acceptance. We don’t need to be a part of the in-crowd here because He desires that we attain being a part of His crowd up there.
God is the ultimate inclusive friend. He doesn’t care who you are, where you come from, what you’ve done. Every time you run to His word, and seek solace within it, He provides. He is the fountain that never runs dry – a fountain of friendship, love, and guidance. He has everything you’re looking for in the people around you… and it’s just waiting for you, He is just waiting for you.
Find your refuge in Christ, today, and become all you’re meant to be when you’ve laid all distractions aside