Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Outcast but Not Cast Out

Today's passage:  Isaiah 56
     "The Lord GOD which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him."  Oddly enough,  verse 8 causes me to think about the classic childhood fairy tale, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves".  This beautiful, talented, princess deftly manages these strange forest-dwelling personalities.  They find her enchanting.  She finds them endearing when many of them definitely are not.  I would find them irritating.  Cute in the story, but they would get on my nerves.  I think in our day and age, these little misfits would be considered outcasts. 
Dwarves and Snow White--Taken from Sprookjes Tweede verzameling
By Jacob Ludwig Carl Grimm Wilhelm
Public Domain
     When I think of an outcast, I don't think of third-world orphans, I don't think of the untouchable caste in Hindi culture, I think of those people on the fringe of society.  I think of those who are socially awkward, have mental issues, or maybe are perpetually homeless.  Living in the inner city puts me in the path of these types of people every day, even in my church.  I wonder how enchanting I am to them?  How often do I find them endearing?  I know I should not be looking to Snow White on how to deal with people, but God would want me to love and care for eccentrics, wouldn't He?  Do I make an effort to see these people as God sees them?  Do I nod politely, smile, and quickly duck out of the way, and then feel like I have done my Christian duty? Do I allow their idiosyncracies to get on my nerves and have as few dealings with them as possible? In this verse God gathered them to Him.  He created them, and He finds the beauty in their oddities.
     Sometimes, I'm just a snob.  I set my own criteria on who seems to be socially acceptable and who is not. I'm not talking about being rude.  I try to always be polite.  But is it genuine?  Would I invite certain people into my home?  Would I sit and listen to them when they just need a listening ear, not because if I don't, it would look bad, but because I really care?  I would be an outcast in Isaiah's time because I am a Gentile, not born into the Jewish nation.  Yet God would have gathered me to Him, as He does today.  I would have been an outcast, but because of God's love and care, I am one of His children.  I was adopted into His family, as is every one who puts trust in Jesus as Savior.  I need to view every person I might label as an outcast the way God views them.  It's the way God views me. 

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