– James H. Aughey
Truly, those who are saved know what it’s like being an outcast or outsider. When I was first saved, my family thought I was brainwashed. My friends thought I‘d flipped! My co-workers hated that I didn’t laugh at the same jokes or gossip about people like I used to. I was a new creature in Christ (2 Cor 5:17), and they didn’t like the new creation. They wanted the old man back, but even though he does rear his ugly head occasionally, he is pretty much a memory. If church is for only perfect people, I can’t join it because I’d ruin it. See my point? Someone once told me that the church is full of hypocrites, but I say, “Well, there’s always room for one more.” The truth is that there are more hypocrites outside of the church than there are inside. None of us are perfect, but we have a Perfect Redeemer, who makes us perfectly acceptable to God (2 Cor 5:21), and all that matters is what matters to God, not what matters to other people.
I feel like an outcast to my old friends because I don’t run with them anymore in sinful activities. I run to the church because it’s a place for the outcasts of the world. I fit in where the outcasts are. I don’t fit in where I am spurned at family gatherings, work parties, or social gatherings because I cramp their style. I don’t do it intentionally, but just by having a Christian in the room, people feel convicted and are more restrained in their language and behavior. One former co-worker said that “it sure gets quiet when you walk into the break room.” He probably meant that people are less likely to swear or use vulgar or profane language and less likely to gossip or talk about the opposite sex. That’s okay–I can live with that.
Jesus Sides with the Outcasts
My friends, Christian persecution is going to get worse and worse in the coming months and years in the United States. Believe me, it has already started. We only see the tip of the iceberg, but underneath the surface, there is a growing army of Christian hostiles who have it in for us. They want us out of the public square, they want us out of business, they want us out of the workplace, and they really want us out of society. Jesus predicted that the day would come when they would kill us, thinking they’re doing God a favor (John 16:2). This has been happening around most of the world for centuries, but it’s getting closer and closer to our own place, so the church may not be a place for only outcasts; it might be one of the few sanctuaries we have left.
I am thankful to God that He accepts the outcasts, the least of the world, and the people whom the world has little regard for, but God loves to call the weak of the world to confound the mighty (1 Cor 1:27) because this shows that it must be of God, and He receives the glory. He deserves the glory anyway, doesn’t He?