The Forgotten Ones

Everybody remembers them, the awkward teenage kid at school, the bashful girl with braces, the pudgy kid that no one wanted on their team, the poor kid who didn’t have the money to hang out with the “in” crowd and do cool things. They would sit alone in the cafeteria. They would sit alone at home on the weekend while everyone else was having fun. They walked the halls alone. They walked home alone. Their phone never rang with a friend asking them to come over. They often would have a pained expression on their face that said, “I am lonely, I need a friend”. Remember them? What was their name? Where did they live?

Maybe you were one of these kids. If so, you remember the longing for friendship, acceptance and companionship. You probably haven’t forgotten the pain of rejection, ridicule, or worse, just being ignored.

I am learning that these feelings are not confined to school children.

As a pastor, a good portion of my time is spent with people. I watch them as they come into church. Just as when they were kids, they are self-conscious about their appearance, their clothing, their hair, etc. They walk in feeling like they are under a microscope and unfortunately, they often are. They sit nervously in an open spot and endure the stares. They are unfamiliar with the “order of service”, often they don’t know the hymns and don’t have a Bible. From my seat on the platform, I can see them blush as the offering plate passes and they have nothing to contribute. They often leave the at the conclusion of the service like they are shot out of a cannon.

Then there are the elderly. Those who are homebound or in a nursing home. Their family is too busy to come and visit them. When you go to see them, they are so excited that they ramble on for long periods of time about their ailments, their family, and matters that may seem trivial to us, but are some of the highlights of their life. The loneliness they feel can drive them to distraction.

May God help us not to forget these people.

How can we make a difference? Treat them as Jesus would treat them, with mercy and compassion. Let that uncomfortable visitor know that you are glad they are in your church. Look past the way they look and see them as a soul for which Jesus died. Make them feel at ease. Invite them to sit with you, or, better yet, ask if you can sit with them. When the service is over, get their e-mail address or telephone number and follow up with them during the week. Do this without treating them as just another “contact”. Become a friend to them.

Call or visit that elderly person. Offer to take them to the store. Sit with them a while and chat with them. Above all, LISTEN! Maybe you don’t really need to hear about their great-great-grandchild winning third place in a science fair or how much their arthritis hurts them when it is cold, but they need to tell it. Take them a picture or a card. Let them know that they are loved. Pray with them.

May we never forget that God never forgets. Not one wallflower, nerd, geek, handicapped or elderly person is overlooked or unloved by Him. Let’s not let one person slip through the cracks of the floor of our lives. It may be that you are the one God wants to use to reach out to that person.

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14 responses to “The Forgotten Ones

  1. This Wallflower wants to thank you for this post ! Bless you!

    now ya gone and made me cry!

  2. I have advocated a “take a visitor to lunch” ministry whereby a family would offer a visitor an invite to lunch either at a local restaurant or at their house.

    So far, it has not caught on. We’ve done it a couple of times, but I’m not aware that any of our other members have.

  3. Janice–God bless you. You are a blessing.

    Joe–that’s a great idea. I think the problem is, a lot of the homefolks may be insecure themselves and thus uncomfortable about reaching out. The key is getting people to love Jesus enough to get out of their comfort zone and take the risk of touching others.

  4. This post has been removed by the author.

  5. that’s a great post – and so very true. when Jesus was here, He would love the “unloveable” and go to where they were and reach out to them.

  6. That is true, Meagan. Prostitutes, publicans, even lepers were touched by Jesus.

    When it comes to grace, there are no “untouchables”.

  7. This post should be printed out and stuck in every church bulletin in the US…I’m taking it to church with me!

  8. What an important truth to be reminded of. I think it helps because in some degree we can all relate to the people you described. We are sinful, figity at times, and feel we are under a microscope. May God give us the grace to reach those the world could care less about.

    God Bless,

    Doug

  9. Yes, getting people to love Jesus enough to reach outside their comfort zones…and that may be wrapped up in seeing ourselves as we truly are…unworthy, unlovely yet in Christ pure and holy and loved beyond reason. He who is forgiven much, loveth much…

  10. Thanks Bonnie.

    Doug and JG–I think both of you are on the same track, here.

    Ultimately it comes down to the fact that we think more highly of ourselves than we should. JG you are right in saying that we should see ourselves as we are in Christ.

    Good thoughts, all.

  11. I’m glad you are getting people to think with a compassionate heart. Everyone wants to be needed and wanted.

  12. Gordon,

    I really like what you have to write. I think it’s very important for us to treat all people as Christ would treat them. That’s a message that’s lost in today’s society.

    May God continue to bless your ministry.

    Dennis

  13. Thanks for the wonderful admonition. May God bless us all to see more clearly the needs of those around us and the ability we have to fill them.

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