While we are mostly concerned about our own sense of belonging and finding others to instil that sense into-- can there be a false sense of security that comes from mattering in the wrong ways? 

Is this not the gasoline that fuels a criminal gang, hate groups and makes pirates out of rejected sailors?

Clinical psychologist Sally Singer Horwatt said,

Happiness in life is strongly related to having some close personal relationships. Research suggests that it does not seem to make a great deal of difference what sort of relationship one has, but the absence of close social bonds is strongly linked to depression, unhappiness and other troubles…
This explains the power of ostracism as a means of social control.  Ostracism - a.k.a. the silent treatment - is the actions of individuals or groups that ignore, exclude or reject others. Ostracism is intended to deprive the target of the sense of belonging.  It has been called "social death."  [1]

One of the great appeals of the Gospel message is the whole notion of those who do not belong being brought in to God’s family. There is an adoption model in which God finds a way to raise us from the relational death of not belonging.

The Gospel is not one-dimensional though. There is a strong relational message that we have in fact deprived ourselves of belonging to God. We have constructed many walls to keep God out of our lives. God has been shunned and given repeated messages of not being heard, appreciated or welcomed by the entitled family members. We cannot shun God endlessly and think it is okay.

Jesus spoke to God’s People with a strong warning about entitlement thinking.

Luke 13:
23 Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?”
He said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’
“But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’
26 “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’
27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’
28 “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. 29 People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. 30 Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”

This is a frightening potential. Could the ones who insist that they belong be in for a rude awakening? Why would God turn anyone away? Are there instances in which God has to tell someone they do not belong? The self-described and publicly lauded ‘firsts’ may in fact be the real losers.

It always takes humility on our part to enter through God’s door. Jesus came to open the children’s door and build access ramps for those who cannot walk. I’m not sure the path is wide enough for those who insist on strutting their stuff like privileged brats.

Our illegal sense of belonging comes from believing that we can shun God and get away with it. We cannot.


Laurie Bowen said…
Wow excellent point! I agree wholeheartedly!