“I’m always the kid, my nose pressed against the window, looking at everyone inside having a good time.” “I didn’t belong in my family, so why should I feel like I belong anywhere else.” “I may be included but I never really feel like I belong.” These stories are sad but real, are the voices of individuals who have shared the deep loneliness and isolation felt—and continue to feel—like outsiders. There can be a number of scenarios that result in an individual being caught in a state of outsiderness but the experiences of not belonging in childhood have the most powerful and lasting effects.
In the story of the leper in Mark 1, he came and approached Jesus. He was taking a chance that Jesus might walk away as the Scribes and Pharisees did, or that Jesus might cast stones at him or make fun of him like others did. But he felt that Jesus was different. He felt this man might just be the One who could seriously change his whole life. Man, was he right! Jesus loved this leper, and He took action when nobody else would. Jesus acted when the rest of society dispised and rejected this man. He acted when this man’s religion and the people who also worshipped like he did, ignored him. I wonder how many people in our community are like this leper and they think, “I wonder if those people at this church or in this place are different? I wonder if they will love me, accept me, and help me?” Just as this man came to Jesus, people come to us.
How do you treat those who are different from you?