the weblog of Alan Knox

When the church discards and overlooks certain people

Posted by on Oct 4, 2012 in blog links | 13 comments

When the church discards and overlooks certain people

Apparently, Jim isn’t the only blogger in his family. His wife Marianne has written a terrific post at “Crossroad Junction” called “Apples and Pears.”

In her post, Marianne compares choosing fruit at a market with the way that we choose people, especially looking for those that seem perfect on the outside and inside. But, what happens when we discard people like we discard bruised fruit?

Marianne writes:

Because it is the fall season, apples and pears are in abundance. The number of varieties is astounding! When I go to the market I look for the fruit that is unblemished. If I arrive near closing time, often the bruised fruit are the only ones left. Everyone seems to desire the perfect fruit, not the damaged ones.

Unfortunately, so it is with people. Most people want the unblemished people. The ones with the mottled skin, bruised sections, worm holes or rotten areas are often discarded or overlooked. Each of us, at some point in our lives, has had at least one of these afflictions, yet the Lord has never rejected us.

One thing I’ve noticed in my own life: I expect people to accept me, love me, and share their life with me in spite of my “mottled skin, bruised sections, worm wholes, or rotten areas.” But, when it comes to accepting and loving others, it’s more difficult to offer the same grace that I expect.

Marianne’s post reminded me of this prophecy (that Matthew later said describes Jesus):

… a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory… (Matthew 12:20 ESV; Isaiah 42:3)


13 Comments

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  1. 10-4-2012

    Alan,

    This is why I normally eschew relationships with folks who were raised in a church by Christian parents or what-not. I prefer brothers who have been around the block a few times, have some battle scars, know what it is to be a slave to sin, knows who Satan really is, and realizes that in Christ Jesus, as sons, we have not only an identity, but a purpose.

    Not that brothers raised in a Christian environment are lesser or not as credible, no! I know some of them who actually turned out to genuinely be as sons of God. But for the most part, the spirit of legalism and ‘spiritual entitlement’ covers these brothers and I simply cannot relate to that.

    As Marianne says of the less-than-attractive tomatoes and produce that is often over-looked and rejected, I find that brothers who have faced such rejection to be the best of all. Of Jesus it is said that there was nothing about Him, appearance wise, that was noteworthy or spectacular. I like that. Would that we could all be so insipid in earthly elements.

  2. 10-4-2012

    Fruit is fruit, good or bad, right? That’s the point. We shouldn’t dislike the clean and pretty fruit, we shouldn’t dislike the cruddy fruit. We should just eat fruit, irrespective of quality, to hopefully prevent scurvy. Does bacon count as fruit?

  3. 10-4-2012

    Donald,

    Unless I misunderstand Marianne’s point, she is saying that we should not pick through people the way that we pick through fruit. All people are important to God (the bruised and the unbruised)… although, in reality, all people are “bruised,” so bruises are just more noticeable.

    Dan,

    Right. The picking fruit analogy is actually an anti-analogy. We should not pick through people the way that we pick through fruit.

    -Alan

  4. 10-4-2012

    Alan,

    I keep forgetting you do not deal in principles, but in tangible theological ideals! I said what I said above as it moved through my spirit and heart, and I did not write my comments using a direct line-by-line translation.

    I really need to work on that before I comment here! Your spiritual language is different than mine, so I will do what I can to learn yours. ;)

  5. 10-4-2012

    Donald,

    Perhaps I should have simply asked you to explain what you meant when you said, “This is why I normally eschew relationships with folks who were raised in a church by Christian parents or what-not.” To me, that seems like you’re “picking” which people to associate with, just as someone else might choose to “eschew relationships” with different kinds of people.

    -Alan

  6. 10-4-2012

    Alan,

    Why I’d be happy to clarify, since it seems my words didn’t seem to say enough the first time around.

    Bluntly put, I gravitate towards those who have blood and mud on their hands and spirits, having come out of The World and into our Father’s Kingdom. I tend to not gravitate towards those who were raised in a church, and who were taught about Jesus since basically day one.

    Like I said, this is not to say those raised in a church are less credible to me. Not at all. I simply do not readily relate to that kind of spirit.

    Am I then guilty of not picking certain fruits/veggies because of how they look to me in The Spirit? Sure. I sure am. I prefer the bruised and rejected over the washed and polished. But this is not to say I do not interact with these other brothers. I do. I visit your blog and Chuck McKnight’s blog regularly, because you actually have things to say, now and again, that cause me to consider, even though we were not brought into The Kingdom the same way. *shrugs* No worries.

  7. 10-5-2012

    Fortunately people are judged by a different standard that fruit and when it says, by their fruit you shall know them, it was not literal fruit. Actual literal fruit can properly be judged, and bruised (picked) fruit will not keep as well so the analogy breaks down at some point! Unless you are telling us we should feel sorry for bruised and rotting fruit….

  8. 10-8-2012

    Donald,

    I’m glad Jesus and many brothers/sisters in Christ did not overlook or discard me in spite of the fact that I was raised “in church” by Christian parents… in the “Bible belt” even.

    Tom,

    I think this “fruit” analogy is different than Jesus’ fruit analogy. I would describe this one as an anti-analogy. In other words, we should not pick through people the way that we pick through fruit… looking only for the “good” ones (however we define good).

    -Alan

  9. 10-9-2012

    Alan,

    This is why I said I am guilty, brother.

  10. 10-10-2012

    Donald,

    Ah, thanks. As you know, I like it when people are honest about themselves and their struggles.

    -Alan

  11. 10-10-2012

    Alan,

    My brother, I do not struggle with this. I used the word guilt because it is an easily understood word.

    Give me the beautifully flawed and the tragically wonderful any day, especially in Christ. I’m not struggling with my penchant for attracting and being drawn to the dregs of The Church. ;)

  12. 10-10-2012

    Donald,

    But, you were honest and real about ignoring or discarding some people that God brings into your life. I appreciate that, even if you don’t struggle with it.

    -Alan

  13. 10-10-2012

    Alan,

    Hmm. Ya got me on that one. It’s ignoring, not discarding, indeed.