Compelled to Inclusivity
Written by Olivia Olson
We’ve all experienced that awful feeling of rejection and loneliness before – whether it was during elementary school gym class and you were picked last for the team, being dumped, ignored, or ghosted by someone we care about, or get rejected from that job we really wanted. It makes us feel really crummy inside – that we aren’t good enough, talented enough, or good-looking enough. Unfortunately, this happens in so many situations, and happens frequently enough, that it can really wear on people without us even noticing unless we are personally affected. Sometimes, we even hurt others without realizing it through what we simply fail to do. It’s so easy for us to go about our daily lives, living in our own bubble, without reaching outside of that bubble to welcome others in and include them in our already created communities and lives. I am guilty of this, and I’ve found that it’s not as easy to shake that habit as I want it to be.
But, as a Christian, I am continually reminded about the importance of including others and welcoming them for who they are, as well as challenged on a daily basis to follow through with this calling. It seems so insignificant to do something as simple as welcome someone into a community, but the impact it has on someone’s life and self-positivity can be enormous. Far too often, people are rejected by family members, community, or the larger public for beliefs and identities they hold or ways they live. Oftentimes, the church has not been a good role model in these situations, for even though the very basis of our faith is to love everyone, we still end up putting stipulations on that love and acceptance and reject people and turn them away. But that’s the thing – the foundations of Christianity are love and inclusivity, as we are called to be God’s hands and feet and beating heart in this crazy world today.
I am so blessed to be a part of the LCM community, for each week I see and experience the love and welcome that this community is filled with. It’s a powerful motivator for me to take this sense of welcoming and bring it with me into each day and share it with those that I meet, and to reach out to others instead of living in my own personal bubble.
There is so much uncertainty and loneliness in our lives today, so to be able to be a light to others and show them that they are loved and always welcome seems to me the least we can do. Yes, it requires vulnerability to reach out to someone, especially if we don’t know them very well, and that definitely freaks me out. But God welcomes all of us freely into community with God and one another as humans, and that reminder and reassurance gives me a push to reach out more even when I don’t quite feel like it. Because honestly? It’s not about me and my comfort zone, but the power of what this small action could be to someone hungering for community.