Every Sunday, I take a break from writing about Work, Life, and Changing the World. Instead, I write about my imperfect understanding of God’s perfect love as my personal mission to spread His word and His love and to make a difference. You can read more Mission posts here.
Airline lounges. Resorts and country clubs. Membership clubs. Book clubs. Football clubs. Business clubs. Toastmasters clubs. Rotary clubs.
Doesn’t it feel good to be part of something exclusive?
Even owning a Gucci, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Hermes, or Prada handbag means being part of an exclusive group of people who can buy one.
The same can be said with living in exclusive subdivisions or studying in exclusive schools.
Yet, the irony of exclusivity is that we yearn for inclusion in an exclusive group. Inclusion is at the heart of exclusivity.
It feels good to be included. It feels good to be accepted. It feels good to be recognized. It feels good to have people who have your back. Most importantly, it feels good to be loved.
At the end of the day, we want to be included simply because we have a deep desire to be loved.
The sad part is that, more often than not, it is difficult to be included. It is difficult to be accepted. That’s why we believe that we need to meet some requirements in order to be get in an exclusive club. In a much deeper sense, we begin to believe that we need to do or prove something first in order to be loved.
Exclusivity is everywhere—in schools, in grading systems, at work, in performance evaluations, in bell curves, in positions and job descriptions, in communities, in families, and in relationships.
Sadly, in religion too.
How many times have we heard, “You will not be saved because (insert your reason here)?"
Or “That bad thing happened because God is punishing them for their wrong beliefs?”
Or “He acts that way because he is (insert religion or denomination here)?”
In fact, I used to say those things as well.
I would like to believe that God is an inclusive God.
He included tax collectors, prostitutes, and thieves in His entourage.
He included Gentiles in His plan for salvation.
He included sinners in His love.
All because of His inclusive grace.
God deserves every right to be exclusive. No one is worthy for His love and grace. Yet, He included everyone.
Instead of doing our best to maintain exclusivity, why not do our best include everyone else? Like God does.
After all, at some point in our lives, we were also excluded until we were able to prove something.
And it wasn’t a great feeling.
Maybe we should never forget how it felt. Because we can now empathize with others. We know how it feels to be longing, to be wanting, and to be searching for inclusion, for acceptance, and for love.
"While Peter was still speaking these things, the holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the word. The circumcised believers who had accompanied Peter were astounded that the gift of the holy Spirit should have been poured out on the Gentiles also, for they could hear them speaking in tongues and glorifying God.” — Acts 10:44-46