I don’t talk much about this, but I think it’s time to make a point so here goes…
We have a daughter who has some special needs.
I love to watch as she plays with her friends and is well received. It makes me feel good.
On the other hand, there’s nothing that hurts me more than to watch her be shunned or ignored because of some differences. It especially hurts when it is her sisters, my daughters, doing the shunning or ignoring.
A couple of mornings ago I was watching her two sisters play together. They were having a great time laughing and playing. They were having a great time until their sister wanted to join… then things changed.
They told her to leave. They started gathering all of their toys to themselves. They made it clear that they didn’t want her to be a part of what was going on.
Now here’s the thing, this doesn’t always happen, but it happens more often than I’d like it too. They slam the door when she’s trying to get in the room. They talk about and with each other but often leave her out of the conversation. It’s little things that, if not corrected, will have BIG impact.
As a father, this breaks my heart.
And so it occurred to me that our Heavenly Father’s heart must break too as He watches His children who “get it”, the “mature”, shun or ignore those who may not “get it”.
This happens all the time in churches around the country. “Christians” regularly shun and/or ignore those who have not embraced the faith… those with a unique set of needs. Oh maybe they don’t do it intentionally, but they sure do it implicitly.
Well, for instance, I’ve had people tell me, “I don’t want our church to grow any more. I just am not comfortable in a big church.” In my opinion, that is kind of like slamming the door and leaving the “special needs” child on the outside.
I hear to many “Christians” talk about things they don’t like about the church and not enough about “What can we do to make those who don’t ‘get it’ welcome here?” Again, in my opinion, that is like gathering the toys to themselves and saying, “This is our space, you can’t come in here.”
Too many churches are having a “great time” while those with special needs are ignored or shunned. Too many churches are filled with laughter, sharing, fellowship, and all kinds of other good things, but only for those who “get it.” Just try reaching out to those who are needy and see what happens to the fun, laughter, and fellowship… it changes quickly to “Hey, what about me/us? We were here first!”
I know how my heart hurts when I see my little girls shun or ignore their special needs sister.
I can only wonder how much more our Heavenly Father’s heart hurts when He watches the church act like this.
What can we do about this? We’ll talk about this later…