Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Acceptance and Exclusion

It may be one's style, physique, name, race, religion, bank account or location. In some way most everyone will find acceptance in one group or another. Nonetheless, that acceptance is based upon some external factor in one's life. As a result when the external factor is removed the acceptance may go with it. Acceptance can be a fleeting condition. What happens when that acceptance is gone?

For most, there will be another external factor that cannot be changed that will give one a permanent acceptance in a certain group, things such as age, race or national heritage. However, this is not always the case. The group to which one belongs may not be an acceptable group in the group one wants to be in. That is a long sentence to say, we don't always get what we want.

The one thing all humans need and want in one form or another is some form of acceptance or love. It is love that gives one's life value and meaning, it is love that makes one desire to get up in the morning, it is love that makes one endure through the hard times, it is love both the giving and the receiving that is the desired result of acceptance. Therefore, acceptance due to an external factor is not love but merely temporary acceptance.

Acceptance even in the short term is desirable over exclusion.

The event that leads me to write this is a small thing that will disappear in a few days but it has opened my eyes to the devastating effects of being excluded for one reason or another. That little thing is a child's disease contracted from an unknown source and no apparant sources seen. It is a little disease that manifests itself in blisters on my hands. It is a disease that is highly contagious, especially to children. But because it is on my hands I am limited in my activities. The little blisters hurt so that limits my activity, but if the blisters run then I become contagious to others. No one wants this little disease so I am now excluded from my everyday life. People are kind, but even my own family does not want to touch me or have me prepare their meals. I am an outcast. I made a joke that I felt like a leper, but in fact it is not really a joke at all but rather a revelation about being excluded.

To be excluded means that there is no redemption to reconnect to the group. There is no method of cleaning oneself to be acceptable. There is frustration, loneliness and despair. I will be better in a few days and life will return to normal. But for right now I am quaranteed, mostly by my own choice, but also by others when they learn of my little temporary disease.

Nothing in life should be wasted and neither should this experience. I should learn about being excluded. I have never experienced total exclusion for I have always been loved and loved, even as I am now. Still my loved ones shun me for their own protection. I now know how significant a thing it was when Jesus touched the leper. I understand the child who has no friends at school. I understand the lonely old woman living alone and growing closer to death. I understand the single parent for whom there is no help, I understand. . . could go on and on. It is that understanding of exclusion that makes me say, "I have a Savior." Only in Him is there perfect love no matter what my filthy condition and only in Him is there redemption from my malady, even if I do not experience a cure, I do experience acceptance in His love.

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