Junk car

Have you ever felt like you were on the outside? Like you just didn't fit in or belong? Where did you feel like that? Home, school, church? Why? Was it the place, the things, or was it the people?

I never liked being an outsider. In high school, I wasn't really an outsider. I hung out with everyone. I was in football and theater, AP classes and super easy computer classes. The one place I felt like an outsider, though, was the first church I started attending. In my first youth group, we didn't have a youth pastor. We had three men who rotated teaching the class. One week, after much prayer, two of those men left the church due to some doctrinal issues, leaving one behind to take over. He became the dictator of the teen ministry. The one teacher left behind was the one who encouraged a "seniority rules" attitude, who encouraged pranks on the weaker and younger, and had an "if you're not for me, you're against God" kind of attitude. Because I wasn't for him, I was on the outside. Instantly the youth knew they could pick on me and nothing would happen. I didn't have the nicest car, so everyone knew they could make fun of me for that. I remember times that the teens would jump on top of my hood, take things out of my car, and one time the youth guy used my car as an example of a junk car in one of his lessons! Four months later, we left and I was able to join one of the best churches ever. Droo, who was the youth pastor at this new church, will still contact me today and check up on me, and I've been out of his youth group for 6 years!

People may not have been making fun of other's cars 2,000 years ago, but they weren't nice to those less fortunate, outsiders, or sinners. But Jesus said this to their religious leaders:

And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.
-Mark 2:15-17 ESV

Remember this, those who are less fortunate, poor, outsiders, or sinners still need love, and they still need a Savior. Don't kick them when they're down, but pick them back up and show them the love of Jesus!


Smell my feet

So, if we had to be honest with ourselves, is there a group to the left that you'd hang out with? Whatever group we picked, there is a reason we picked it. It's new, it's familiar, my family is like that, they like what I like. We picked it because of our life experiences with people who looked like them and either we want to associate with them or we don't.

But what can you tell me about those people? We could make guesses. The ones to the top don't bathe, the ones in the middle are stuck up, and the ones to the bottom are wanna-be's. But is this fair? If we picked one group over the other, would we treat the other groups differently? Would we look down on them? Would our group now be the best and everyone else sucks?

Now what about their home life? Are their parents married? Do they have brothers or sisters? Are they the oldest? Youngest? Here's the question I really want you to answer. What can you tell me about their souls? Are they saved? 

We start a slippery slope when we start to judge people. We start to assume things that aren't true, and our assumptions start to influence our attitude towards them.

It's so easy to make judgments based on appearances. And it's not a new problem. In the Bible, James talks about this idea.

For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
                                                      (James 2:2-4)

Think about that this week as you go through your school and ask yourself, would I give up my seat for them, or make them stand in the back?