Thursday, August 18, 2011

My Holy Discontent - Inclusive! Not Exclusive

Wow, it has been a while since I wrote my last blog article. Life seems to be a bit busy of late, but in the midst of the busyness, a topic that is near my heart has surfaced in recent days.
There is a lot of awareness these days of bullying and harassment; particularly in schools so it tends to target the younger population. I disagree and furthermore, bullying and harassment has always been around and displayed, in my opinion, in cliques; e.g. exclusive groups, not just in schools. Yes, I understand that we cannot be friends with everyone and hence, people generally have a peer group with whom they share  common interests. Take Jesus for example, He had 12 disciples who were His close friends and then had three (3) others whom were His really close mates. But alas, Jesus had a rapport with all the people when He travelled around the countryside sharing His message of love and grace.

I really appreciated reading a post from Joyce Meyer's facebook page just the other day. It said, "The amazing thing about Jesus is that He loves everyone. He excludes nobody."

My memories from when I was school aged are not of my being the most popular or the prettiest; but rather that I felt awkward and fat (a doctor even labelled me as overweight in a report - funny the things you remember!, but no, I was not fat) and although I tried to achieve at sports, I was not very coordinated and I can remember dreading track and field day because I knew there would not be any ribbons coming my way. Funny the things we remember! Hhhmm...

I believe that we all have a desire to belong and to feel accepted and even though we may have received that love and acceptance from our homes and families, the stigma of feeling like an 'outsider' or 'different' in a wrong way in other settings; e.g. school, youth group, leaves an impression on one's heart so that you will do everything within your own power to make sure that people do not feel that way, ever! It is not how God intended!

And here's the thing - are we modelling the inclusive or exclusive behaviour to our children? To the younger generation? Go ahead and ask yourself and answer honestly. Probably because it did affect me in my childhood, I make an extra effort to make people feel noticed and special - it can be as simple as a "smile" and a "hello", giving them a moment of your time.

I have to remind myself daily that some people are oblivious to their behaviour, but alas, it can still hurt - we are human afterall. But, as I am accountable solely for my own behaviour, I will strive to make sure that I am living a life of inclusiveness to others.