For most of my life I've felt like a person on the periphery. Webster defines the periphery as "the outermost region or part within a precise boundary or perimeter." Peripheral refers to the visual field and of course means "being on the outer area of the visual field." It may seem odd to think of oneself as only a peripheral, but it's an accurate description for me.
Sometimes I've chosen to be on the periphery. Trusting people isn't always easy. After experiencing emotional pain and hurt from others, it's harder to put myself out there again. Still, other times, I believe others have put me in the periphery. I'm allowed in to a certain degree, but not into the inner circle.
Being a periphery person is a struggle because like most people I want to be a part of things. I want to be a part of the inner circle.
I've been reminded recently of how we can place people on the periphery without even realizing that we have. At the first of the year I started attending a Christian women's class, and I truly believe these ladies are for real. But, immediately I was placed in the periphery because I didn't "join" the class. Members are put into small groups so they can get to know other members in more social type settings. There was a lively discussion as to what to do with me since I hadn't "joined" the class and the conclusion was I wouldn't be placed in a small group until I joined. Obviously, as a "visitor" I wouldn't want to get to know other class members, and obviously they don't want to get to know me.
And then I'm left wondering why we Christians make it so hard for people to fellowship with us? Jesus accepted all who came to Him. He accepted them as they were. All a person had to say to enjoy all Jesus had to offer was I believe you are my savior. And all the riches of heaven became available for that person. Jesus didn't put people on the periphery then, and He doesn't do it now.
Having been reminded of how disheartening it is to be placed in the periphery, I've made a resolution to do everything I can to keep people from feeling like I do right now. I believe Christians would make a greater impact for the Kingdom of Heaven if we could just love people where they are and for who they are without expecting them to become something else in order to be allowed into the inner circle.
If we could love like Jesus, no one would ever have to be in the periphery again.