Monday, July 29, 2013

The 'In' Crowd

Included. We all want to fit in or belong somewhere. We want friends we can trust; a place where we can feel safe to “be ourselves”. This past week, I watched as my son played at the park with two of his friends. They laughed, they played tag, they climbed things, and they ran around. However, it didn’t immediately start off that way. There were three of them, and you know the saying, “two’s company, but three's a crowd”. Unfortunately it looked like it was going to be one of those times where two of the friends delighted in their friendship, while the other one felt left out.

Instead of jumping in right away, I prayed that God would intervene and help them all to play together. God answered that prayer in the most beautiful way. When one of the boys tried to cling to the other, the boy who was being clung to simply refused to leave anyone out. Although he was “chosen” as the favorite, he refused to play the part. He just kept playing with everyone. 

I remember having a talk with his mom a while back, and commenting on how her son is always so inclusive of everyone. Her response was shocking, but great. She said, “He better include everybody! If he doesn’t, we leave and go home. We don’t tolerate that kind of behavior in our house.” How beautiful!

This playground incident reminded me of a passage in Romans when Paul was passionately arguing the case for circumcision of the heart versus circumcision of the flesh. As you may know, this was a heated topic back in that day. It was approximately 57 years after Christ’s death and resurrection, and people needed to know: Did Gentiles have to become Jews first (obeying the law and becoming circumcised) to become Christians? The questions at stake: who is “in” and who is “out”?

To get clarity on this issue, I read a commentary in which the author said that circumcision of the flesh was intended to be an outward expression of inward change, but it had become what he termed an “identity maker—a way to determine who was ‘in’ and who was ‘out’”.  

He went further to say that in our sin nature “there is something inside us that is not bothered when others are excluded, that wants others to be excluded—that feels more special when we’re on the inside and somebody else is not…”.

I want to challenge each of us as moms to recognize when we feel this way and pray that God would make us sensitive to the Holy Spirit so that we can recognize when we are excluding people, and then seek to do something about it. For example, when you arrive at the park with a group of moms and your kids, but there is a mom who came by herself who seems friendly, do you include her or ignore her? Can she join in on the conversation or is she left to herself and her own thoughts?

Our kids are watching.  God’s word declares that he does not play favorites (Romans 2:11). Let’s model Christ’s example and seek to include rather than exclude. Let’s teach our children to do the same.


God it feels wonderful to be included—to know that there is a place or a group of friends with whom we “belong”. Lord, it is so easy to get comfortable in our little group of friends and be so content with that group that we are hesitant to invite others into our circle. Yet you desire that we love you with our whole heart, and love our neighbors as we love ourselves. In fact, you said all the other laws hang on those two laws. Help us to remember that—to love you and to love people. Help us love on your people and be a friend to the those in need. Help us to model you, and please help our kids to pick up on our example. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.


Next time you are at the park, zoo, play station, jump zone, pool, etc. with some of your friends, ask the Holy Spirit to help you be sensitive to another mom in need of a friend. Then, show yourself friendly! :)

1 comment:

  1. Love that! We recently had s situation like this however it was my daughter being left out and having no one to sit next to on the camp bus. I wasn't there to figure it out for her, but I did get to use it as a learning tool later and point her towards God, reminding her the girl she ended up next to was the one God intended her to be next to. Thanks Teresa for reminding us of our part.