My youngest son is super creative. He has just written over a dozen stories based on characters that he created that he calls misfits. I can totally relate. I was one of those kids in high school who, in order to avoid sitting alone, would skip lunch altogether. In my senior year, I finally got sick of eating candy and ventured into the cafeteria. There was this one kid who was always kind to me and never minded that I sat with him. He was gay. Come to think of it, there was this other gay (although he wasn’t “out” yet) guy who was older than I but would invite me over for dinner, or just hang out with me so I wouldn’t have to be all alone when my mom had to go out of town. He even took me to apply for my first social security card. Maybe that’s why Jesus was always hanging out with “sinners”. They were simply the ones who invited him. It’s so much easier to be in with those who aren’t.
Josiah, Ryan and I were out to dinner a couple of weeks ago. We passed a homeless woman in a wheelchair that I recognized from church so I stopped to say hi to her. She wanted to tell her story. Don’t we all just want someone who will listen and not judge us? So as we listened, a young man with cerebral palsy pulled up in his electric wheelchair and started talking to us as well. Josiah spoke words of comfort to the woman and prayed for her right there on the busiest street in town right in front of diners and sight seers. I spoke to the young man for a while and then another man walked up and started talking to us, mainly out of curiosity, I think.
I laughed later thinking of what a motley crew we were with my husband standing there with his long hair and beard looking somewhat Jesus-esque amongst three wheelchairs, a praying kid and the other guy. Then again, I thought, isn’t that how it always is with Jesus? He is always right in the middle of loving the broken, the misfits and the ones who are just curious.
I heard Francis Chan speak on this scripture a few days later: “And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through His own blood. Let us then go to Him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace He bore.” Hebrews 13:12-13
Chan explained how Jesus was taken outside the gates of the city because people would not allow trash to be disposed of in the city gates. I was devastated. I just can’t get over Jesus, my best friend, my Master, the most amazing and beautiful person to ever exist being treated like garbage to be disposed of elsewhere. And it hit me that every time we are treated like outsiders because of our friendship with Jesus, we are going to Him outside the camp and standing with Him so He is no longer alone in bearing disgrace. My heart says, “Yes! Let’s go to Him outside the camp!” I wept uncontrollably until both my husband and son tried to comfort me but I couldn’t be comforted. The only way for me to feel comforted is to comfort Jesus and the only way to do that is to keep comforting those who are now comfortless.