What hurts the Father’s heart

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.

How?

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…

9 thoughts on “What hurts the Father’s heart

  1. AAAUUUGGGHHH!!!

    You hit a nerve with this one, my friend. Both as the sister of a special needs child and as a member of a church that is losing “mature” ( I use that term LOOSELY) people just because the fellowship hall is purple.

    *shakes head* It’s a sad state of affairs.

  2. I am also a parent of a child with a disabililty (son age 9 with autism) and I am pastor to children at my church. I have started a “special needs ministry” that is all about inclusion and not separate. It is a place in my heart that God keeps raw….
    Check out what we have going on – it’s not perfect but it is working..
    http://www.woolridgeroad.org
    Through the Roof Ministry
    Tammy

  3. Some of the shunning by the sisters is from the adage “twos company, threes a crowd”,–outside the family, I have seen inclusion work very well in the classroom–no matter what, it does break ones heart to see someone excluded–and I agree when it infiltrates the church, our Father must be very sad!! Nevertheless, from what I have read in your blog, and witnessed myself, you’re one great dad!!!

  4. I have seen this with adults within the church it is the outgoing personality verses the introvert–If you don’t have an outgoing personality they feel you don’t want to be a part of them so they”shun” you and walk away but frequently the introvert desperatly needs your companionship also–and they want to be accepted yet we just give up and walk away and they feel very “shunned” and hurt….I see this happen frequently with a member in my family. OUCH

  5. Paul,
    I totally agree with the alertness to those with special needs. We need to be on the look-out for those entering our fellowship that need to embraced and loved on.

    But is there ever a time when we spend so much time/energy focused on those in need that those who are well feel guilty enjoying their health or lose it ministering to those in need?

    Sometimes “hurting people” simply want to remain hurting rather than get healing. There is great comfort in sucking the joy/life/strength right out of people around them. The “hurters” go away feeling refreshed and uplifted and the “barely hanging on’ers” go under while the crew tries to bouy the hurters.

    As you may hear, this is a tough situation for me. I want to have compassion but I do not want to enable people to stay the same way that they came in. Come just as you are, but don’t stay that way. Part of this pain is that God has wired me to be an exhorter not a mercy fountain. Thanks for touching the chord again, Paul.

    Mike

  6. Paul,
    This is definitely an interesting subject. I got in a discussion with my family over the Holidays about this very thing. I think it really needs to be addressed more than it has, alot of people don’t see this unless they are on the outside looking in.

  7. The story in Mark 2 is about a man who desired healing, his friends had carried him but when they arrived there was no room not even at the door.
    You know what they did?
    They ripped up the roof!!
    verse 12 states: immediatly the man rose and went into the prescence of them all, so htat they were amazed and glorified God!

    As you approach starting a church keep the philosophy of bringing in those that cannot find room elsewhere.
    “They will be amazed”
    Continue to shake up the comfortable, use the lessons from your own home and look up -for God may just bring something in a direction that confounds the wise!

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