Aaron Summers

On the Outside Looking In

In Faith, Life and Culture on February 22, 2014 at 9:09 am

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Billy left the house early that morning to catch the bus.  It was cold and crisp but not frigid as he made his way down the road.  The sun was peeking over the trees as the bus rumbled into view.  He got on and looked for the seat he wanted.  Thankfully he was one of the first and could choose from several, but he also knew no one would sit with him anyway.  He sat in silence the entire way.

Susan rolled into school and grabbed some breakfast.  She was right on time and stopped in the bathroom before going to class.  She overheard the girls talking about her accent and clothes like they were the absolute worst thing to ever consider.  She cried before going to class.

Laura arrived at her desk a little frazzled.  She had a rough morning getting the kids ready and off this morning not to mention she was having a bad hair day!  Recently divorced, she had taken this job as a new requirement in life.  She was alone.  No one spoke and the groups had already been formed with no one seeming to take on new members.  She kept her head down and did her work….alone.

John was having a bad year.  He had lost his mother.  He had wrecked his car.  He was about to lose his job because of absences due to the first two items.  He drove by the church and the sign happened to catch his eye.  He was not a “church” person, but there was something that tugged at him today.  He parked and walked in.  The halls were busy with people being busy.  He finally found his way to the worship center.  He took a seat and waited.  People rushed by him and never stopped.  At the end of the service he left….alone.

Have you ever been on the outside looking in?  Have you ever felt alienated?  Have you ever felt set aside?  Being on the outside looking in at school, work, or church is often the result of poor choices by the people that surround you.  Social and cultural bias is widespread.  The “wrong” clothes or the “wrong” vehicle or the “wrong” neighborhood or the “wrong” position at work can all cause prejudice.  The result is the feeling of isolation and/or alienation on your part.

What about God?

Our feeling of alienation with God is a result of our choices.  We walk away, whether we intend to or not.  In Genesis 3, Adam and Eve had the perfect setup!  They had the perfect environment, perfect relationship with God, and the perfect marriage.  What happened next blew the whole deal!  Like us, Eve knew the truth but settled for an alteration of the truth.  She knew if she ate the fruit she would die because God said so.  Satan did not really argue this point other than to suggest a different version and timing of death.  She doubted and fell for the deception.  The choice made by Eve and Adam caused a series of quick events to occur.

Emotional Alienation – the shame and guilt overwhelmed them.  They had been naked for who knows how long without any sense of wrong.  Once sin entered the equation, emotions changed.  Shame and guilt can cause us to do much more than we intended.

Spiritual Alienation – we find them hiding from God.  We hide in our family schedule.  We hide in our work.  We hide behind activities.  We hide behind self-righteousness.  We hide at church.  We hide because we do not want to face the truth.

Social Alienation – Once the discussion started the blame game ensued.  Adam confessed to his action but blamed Eve whom God had provided. Eve confessed to her decision but blamed the snake whom God had made.  I am sure there was some discussion at home later that night!

Physical Alienation – The snake would be hated.  Eve would have pain in childbirth.  Adam would work hard for little return.  Sin creates problems for us: ulcers, instabilities, breakdowns, stress, anxiety, and more.

Is there any hope?

When our innocence is lost, Jesus will give you His by faith and grace.  When our relationship with God is strained, Jesus will be our advocate.  When our relationships with each other break down Jesus gives us strength to carry on.  When our lives and bodies fail Jesus gives us new one as we enter glory by faith in Him.  My hope is centered in Jesus Christ.  The future ruler is not capitalism, culturism, or communism.  The future ruler is Christ.  Comfort one another with these words.  What a day that will be when we stand with Him in eternity!

Are you ready?  Or are you on the outside looking in?  Jesus opens the door and invites you to enter in to His home of peace and rest.  Move from looking in to sitting with God today!

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