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Inside Out

Are you on the inside or the outside? Are you part of the “in crowd” or not? With all the talk today on individuality, we also want to belong. We want the insider scoop. We love to know lingo. We want to be in. It is natural, especially to me who has strength of “Includer.” I have a strong desire to be inside and be included.

So who can pass the test? Consider this: “The gospel of justification proclaimed about the sacrifice of propitiation from the second person of the Trinity transforms our sanctification.” There might be a bunch of Christians who also were lost reading through this. You need some super insider knowledge.

Some of us Christians have lost our perspective in helping the outsider. It doesn’t help that the Christian church has fallen behind the curve in trying to speak a message that people can understand. We still use bible-lingo like some sort of secret code.

Partly because we forget that we too needed to look up all those words and have someone teach them to us. But partly because we’ve lost our heart for outsiders.

Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. This is a side effect from living in our culture. We study and study to gain knowledge because we like to know all the answers. But then, with our great knowledge, we forget that we need to explain it to someone who may not have taken Dogmatics in Seminary (“Bueller?…Bueller?” – you see what I mean by insider talk? I can hardly make an 80’s pop culture reference without singling people out).

The beauty is that God has decided to do something about this. As we see our baby Jesus get tossed out with the bath water in America, Christians are becoming the outsider. God is teaching us by making us an outsider. Christianity being marginalized (pun intended) in our land can shape us into the people that we once were.

God used an insignificant number of people to start the Christian church in a land that, not only outlawed this religion, but actively punished, shamed, and abused anyone who followed Jesus. It was a religion by outsiders, for outsiders. We were never about power, but humility and serving those who’ve been pushed far off.

Now, we can begin to empathize with the outsider. We are beginning to eat our own actions. By pushing people away, we’ve become the kid on the playground with skinned knees. To those who are also bruised, we know what it’s like. To those who’ve been mocked, we’ve been hurt too. For anyone who’s been shoved to the side, we feel you.

That’s what Jesus was. This time of year, as we approach Easter (the day Jesus rose from the dead) we Christians set aside special time to consider how Jesus was bruised, beaten, mocked, pushed outside of town, and left to die a lonely, shameful death. He did this to say, “I know your pain.” But also to communicate that you will never get the same treatment from God. Because of Jesus, he won’t push you down. He won’t shove you away. Because of his wounds, we are healed.

Christians, we are not the insider anymore. Tt’s time to return to our original mission of reaching the outsider.

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In today’s world, being an outsider makes you an insider. My own personal thought on this is, things have already gone to far and without us christians, the true insiders, almost beyond repair.

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