Outsiders

©susanirenefox

©susanirenefox

“The Gospel demands a great deal of us. It calls us to a perennially unpopular and unselfish path. Little wonder Jesus said, ‘The world’s going to hate you’ (John 15:18-19). When you can no longer play the game of judging, labeling, and punishing others, you will quickly become the outsider.” Fr. Richard Rohr

Jesus was an outsider. If we choose to follow Him into the next year and for the rest of our lives here on Earth, we also choose to be an outsider. It means we forever give up, as Rohr says, “judging, labeling, and punishing others.”

There is no such thing as blessed intimidation, sacred condemnation, honorable hate, justified segregation or redemptive violence.

When we speak or act in unloving ways, we step away from God, separating ourselves from the love and grace He has given us – and continues to give – from our birth. We must remember He gives, not because we have done or refrained from doing anything to earn His love; God gives because He is Love.

Dear friends, I am not writing a new commandment for you; rather it is an old one you have had from the very beginning. This old commandment—to love one another—is the same message you heard before. We must love each other because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born from God and knows God. (1 John 2:7, 4:7)

In four days, a brand new year will be upon us. We all have a choice to make. Will we continue to travel the same, well-plod, self-centered road that is parallel to our walk with Jesus, or will we surrender control of our own egos? Will we let go of unforgiveness, anger and condemnation and allow the Spirit of God to lead our lives into a transformational rebirth?

If we accept our Father’s invitation into the heart of Christ, it means we participate in accepting His overflowing love and grace. It means we direct the overflow of His love and grace onto others. It means we take on the mission He has given us to heal and restore all of humanity – not through condemnation, but through love, forgiveness and grace.

It means we must become outsiders, offering grace when others tell us to be harsh, offering compassion when others tell us to turn our backs, offering love when others tell us to fear or hate. It means holding hands with Jesus on the narrow path, allowing Him to give us strength when being an outsider becomes more than we can handle on our own.

“Salvation is not a ‘go to heaven’ ticket you get punched at the altar. It’s an invitation into Christ’s life. It’s about God in Christ taking on humanity in order to heal humanity and restore us to our original image.”(Gen 1:26a*) Mel Wild, author, Sonshift

I pray God provides you a hunger for a new heart and new mind this glorious New Year. Amen.

* Now let Us conceive a new creation—humanity—made in Our image, fashioned according to Our likeness.(Genesis 1:26a)

19 comments

  1. Excellent point – he who accepts Christ commits himself to the life of an outsider. Too many Christians are trying to have their cake and eat it too, trying to keep one foot in each world, trying to make the Gospel socially acceptable so they won’t be rejected. It won’t work. The Gospel is inherently offensive. It either tells a man that his efforts are insufficient and worthless to God (Romans 3:23), or it is not the Gospel. May we be willing to accept Jesus’ road and his joy and strength to walk it.

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    1. Right, Brandon. We must be willing to read what follows (Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight.) It’s not about the doing; we are no longer rejected. We have already been adopted and accepted. It is into this acceptance we want to spend our time leading others instead of placing hurdles before them.
      The offensiveness in the Gospel is God’s scandalous, unconditional love and His indulgent, excessive grace.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post Susan, thank you. And Happy New Year! 🙂

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    1. 😀 You too, Steven.

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  3. Amen, Susan. Let’s make following Jesus our only new year’s resolution! He knows how to transform our fickle, judgmental heart. He makes it like His. It’s a journey we must decide to take, consciously taking up our cross daily, denying a life of self-interest and fear for other-centered, self-giving love. But it’s a journey full of joy!

    Thanks for the quote, too. 🙂 You are such an encouragement to us all. May your 2017 be filled with His joy!

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    1. Thank you, Mel (and you’re welcome). You have lifted and edified me throughout the last year – and more. I’m with you on the joyous journey for next year, and praying many people join us. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! Thank you! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank YOU! I love this post for the New Year, Susan!!! 😍😍😍

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  4. […] Originally posted on Susan Irene Fox —  Outsiders […]

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  5. Wow! Yes! This is wonderful, Irene!!! Love, love, love!!!!

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    1. And much love to you and your family!
      Susan xoxo 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for this powerful writing and challenge for our new year. We are called to be in the world and right now, our world is filled with so many people in need.

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    1. Absolutely, Rick. The real challenge is to look in the mirror and see Christ instead of ourselves.
      Thank you for commenting. I wish you a peace-filled New Year.

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    1. Thank you, Vincent. I pray you and yours have a blessed, healthy and joyous New Year. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re very welcome Susan and likewise my friend 😇😍😎

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  7. I am committed to change. I have learned quite a bit these past few months and God has worked on my heart. I needed that operation. I praise God did he put me in a situation where I had the time to reflect on my walk with him. Perhaps that’s the whole reason why I have been laid up as I have been. God used this time to help me grow. I thank God that he loves me so much. What an awesome God we serve. Thank you Susan. This post is so true.

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    1. And thank you, Pete.
      It is important we all place ourselves in a humble position of learning from His Spirit. I have been grateful that I am in a time in my life of resting beside green pastures and still waters. God has helped me grow and mature in my faith as well, which is the only reason I have been able to write as I do.
      Thank you for adding your voice to the call of God’s love, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

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