There are not many feelings worse than a feeling of disconnection and not belonging. As I have never been very athletic except in a couple of areas, I was always one of the last picked to be a team member in grade school. I will never forget the humiliation of being in the group of the least chosen for kick ball during PE. Because I was a scrawny little girl I could not kick the ball very far. Therefore, I was not a desirable candidate for a team. On a lighter note, I blame that on my six foot one brother who ate all the ice cream at breakfast. My mother had to hide my snacks. I have forgiven you Chris! :)
In being a mother of 9 children, I would be deceiving myself if I said that none of my children have ever felt excluded. There have been times when a board game was being played and one of the children were not invited to play. There have been times when a couple of the children were invited to go somewhere and the other was not. In addition, I am sure I have spent more time with a few of the children in a given day than I have with another. Little ones notice this and it is harmful to their hearts.
Being the imperfect parents we are , we will not get it right every time. However, we must humble ourselves to recognize our shortcomings and ask for God's grace to grow and improve in our weak areas. Many times I have had to ask my children for forgiveness in hurting them by making them feel excluded from me and the rest of the family. There have also been many family talks where we have had to repent to one another for not being more sensitive to each other.
Sometimes I have found the older ones excluding the younger, less mature ones because they have "better" things to do. I have many times caught myself doing the same things as I get so busy at times. Most of the time we do not think about the hurt this causes and the detriment that occurs in their emotional and spiritual growth.
The family is a beautiful picture for all of life's course. If husbands and wives, sisters and bothers, parents and children can learn within the God designed unit of family for successful living, so much of the calamities in society could be avoided. If we cannot stick out the storms in family then how can we have a healthy church , community, and nation?
It is so easy to fall into the pattern of exclusivity. It is a comfortable place to be in the familiar with familiar people we have bonded with and grown with over a period of time. However God has a plan which is opposite to this. His desire is that we grow healthy in family that we may reach out to include instead of exclude others. We should always be open for new members and new relationships.
This brings me to ponder the glory of each new child that comes into a family. If we have one child, it is hard for us to see and understand how we could love and cherish the second child as much as the first. All of our time and energy has gone into the one child. How could my heart possible hold another heart? But this is one way we learn the love of the Lord. He always has room for more. If His heart is in us and we are created in His image, we are designed by Him to do the same on a smaller scale.
When I look at all nine of my children, I am amazed at how God has enlarged my heart to love and cherish them all in a way that is not my own. Likewise, as we are members of God's family, the concept is the same. We should never exclude others He joins to our body because we are too preoccupied with the same relationships we have always had. If we are not growing up and reaching out, our branches are not spreading and then our growth becomes stunted.
We should continually make it a practice to humble ourselves before the Lord in this area as parents and leaders. As parents we lead our children. As leaders in other areas we set the course for those who follow us. They will either grow up to be just like us or they will disconnect from us. Repentance begins with us. Humility begins with us. Lord, let it begin with me.
Lord, make me a blessing . I come to you with a broken heart that I have played the part many times of excluding others because of different reasons. Sometimes I am too busy and distracted. Sometimes I am puffed up and think I do not have time to mess with the weaknesses of others. Sometimes I am just plain insensitive. Lord, wash and cleanse my heart that I may carry other's hearts within mine. Teach me to love and to see all people as equally important in your eyes. When I touch the life of another, a child, and elderly person, a hurting sister, remind me Lord that I am laying my hand upon you and that I am not only blessing them, but also You. Amen