Loving Those On the Margins

Be very careful to never marginalize others. Jesus frequently took people from the margins, excluded from their community, into fellowship with himself: the 12 disciples, the woman at the well (and all her neighbors), the woman with the perfume, Zacchaeus, you and me. Remember that prior to our salvation, we were dead in sin. When Christ raised us to life we were powerless, helpless and dead. It takes humility to remember where you came from. He has done it before and, before you look down on someone else, remember he will do it again. I would hate to be the guy who stood between anyone and Jesus! I am so encouraged that Christians today are serious about that part of our mission. It has taken some time but I am convinced that in many instances the church is turning the corner on this one!

About mattdabbs
I am a minister, husband, and father. My wife and I live and minister in Saint Petersburg, Florida. My primary ministry responsibilities include: small groups, 20s and 30s, involvement, and adult education.

11 Responses to Loving Those On the Margins

  1. Terry Finley says:

    Jesus reached out to those “in the margins”, true, but he didn’t accept them if they “remained in the margins”. If people decide to stay “in the margins”, today the church cannot accept then into full fellowship. Just like in Jesus’ day, today, sin is sin is sin. It is not okay–no matter what one calls it; in the margins or whatever. Thanks for the great blog. This is my first comment, but I have been reading for some time.

    • mattdabbs says:

      He encouraged them to come closer to God through his living welcome. It was an invitation and an invitation never means you stay where you are. It is a call to move, change, repent, etc. stanley Grenz called it “welcoming but not affirming.” thanks for your comment.

      • Terry Finley says:

        Agreed. However, at some point, even Jesus would stop “welcoming”. One can not continue to live in open rebellion to God.

        Having said that, I agree we are doing a way better job today then in the past in reaching out to people “in the margins. When I was young, we called them “living on the wrong side of the tracks”. And in many cases, we didn’t reach out to them until and unless they came somehow to live on the right side of the tracks. Big problem–sorry perspective. I lived with that, and I remember it.

    • mattdabbs says:

      Jesus had clear directions for his disciples when he sent them out. If they reject the message of the kingdom of God, move along…even shake the dust off your sandals. It is like a complete break from their community. But first they were given a chance, even gone out to. We are definitely on the same page here.

  2. It is not just sin that marginalizes people. Many things do that: economic status, educational level, ethnicity, immigration status, certain diseases, and almost any sort of difference. Why are some kids bullied while others are not – and with adults, the “bullying” just becomes more subtle. It does not go away.

    Sure, all marginalized people are in sin and need to repent, but so are those who set the margins!

    So, lets move the conversation from saying, “Yes, but they need to repent.” I really don’t know anyone who does not need to repent. But no amount of repentance can bring all people out of the margins. That demands loving acceptance by servants of the God whom (some) marginalized people are seeking.

    • mattdabbs says:

      Exactly Jerry. I am preaching on this on Sunday and my sermon reflects a lot of what you are saying. I am going back to our common need for Christ, God’s desire to save all and how that should humble us enough to realize that we all deserve to be on the margins with God but instead of leaving us there, God invites us into fellowship with himself (parable of the banquet). I am going to use John 4 to help lay some of it out.

      • Terry Finley says:

        Sounds like a great sermon. Are you going to share it on your blog. I hope so.

  3. I was going to ask if Northwest puts sermons on its webpage….

  4. Mark says:

    I think the term first needs to be defined. You don’t have to be an evil person to be marginalized. Some of the people who are marginalized were put there for amoral situations, e.g. educational level, IQ, came from “wrong part of town,” etc. For that reason, it is those who set the boundaries who are committing the wrong.

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