Every church has at least one. In our gathering, I think we have several. This wispy, sneaky, hard to identify person or family is the center of many conversations. “We don’t measure up to them. We are not good enough for them. They won’t accept us because we are not like them. Everyone here does, or does not do, this or that and we do, or don’t.”
While never really having a conversation with this elusive person or family, many simply know they would not be accepted. While folks my age probably thought this knowledge and experience was limited to school, we have rediscovered it at the church gathering. We simply don’t fit in like the “cool” or “in” or “godly” people do.
It’s interesting how many conversations I have had recently regarding this phantom. Sometimes the creature is simply a belief of where someone fits in the perceived pecking order. Maybe it’s a comparison to what is understood to entail what “everyone” else here believes, feels or practices. Interesting, because even the so called cool people don’t feel like they are good, cool, or acceptable enough and they too are on the outside. I often wonder if everyone feels like they are on the outside, then where exactly is the inside?
Relationships are difficult enough without adding elusive perceptions based on partial truth and understandings. What I have observed over all these years, is that everyone at some point feels like they are the outsider. They are the ones out of step with everyone else. They and probably they alone hold views that are either too liberal or too conservative to the phantom.
There are probably many reasons for such a view – self-image, comparison to others, insufficient understanding of the other person or family’s situation, an unkind word spoken, and lest we forget, an enemy that hates unity. Psalm 33 states that unity is where the blessing from God is commanded, so it would be natural for our foe to sow strife, discord, envy, judgment (real or perceived) and all manner of relationship difficulty.
After pastoring for many decades I have not personally met this phantom, though I have had many conversations about him or them. I am beginning to think they simply do not exist except in the minds of those that allow them a place. We are all servants of the Lord Jesus and His view is the one that should really matter to us, not the view of this shadowy creature.