The Outcasts

For I will restore health to you And heal you of your wounds,” says the LORD, “Because they called you an outcast saying: ‘This is Zion; No one seeks her.’
— Jeremiah 30:17-18 NKJV

An outcast is someone who has been pushed aside, shunned, or rejected. If that has ever happened to you, then you already know how it diminishes or even destroys your sense of belonging and makes you feel completely worthless, of no value to anyone. Such a mental and emotional state makes you vulnerable to an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness that drives you to question whether life any longer has any significance. This helpless feeling of separation can quickly drive a person to an emotional place of sheer desperation. Everyone craves acceptance and belonging, and most people will try anything to find it. Just knowing that someone cares is enough to create hope in one’s heart and give meaning to one’s life. We as individuals could find no greater value, meaning, or care in life than that which we receive from our Father, who is our maker and creator. Why, then, do so many of us feel like outcasts? Let’s explore this question.

Man’s first experience as an outcast resulted from his decision while in the garden of Eden to disobey God. Adam listened to his wife Eve, who, influenced by another voice, gave in to sin. Eve’s succumbing to the serpent’s provocation did not transpire in a single day. She heard—and listened to—the enemy’s voice more than once, becoming so familiar with it over time that eventually she let her guard down and surrendered to his enticing but deceptive words. This is the first occurrence of human rebellion in the scriptures. After the Father confronted Adam and Eve concerning their disobedience, “they went out of His presence.” Their decision to sin made them outcasts. Despite this, however, the Father’s purpose to bring redemption, reconciliation, and restoration to man was already in full motion. Adam’s and Eve’s rebellion in the garden inaugurated a precipitous decline in human nature and behavior as escalating sin, perversion, and obstinate rebellion became the norm of the day. Some righteous people (very few) continued to follow the ways of the Father, but the majority of mankind chose to be outcasts. They willingly indulged their own vain imaginations and followed the evil deeds in their hearts. They filled the earth with increasing violence, wickedness, and decadence until the Father sent a great flood to wipe them out. Only a few (Noah and his family) were preserved.

Continually through the ensuing centuries, the Father raised up leaders to be His mouthpiece to remind His people of who He was, of His goodness, and of His kindness toward mankind. They also declared the Father’s disdain for rebellion, wickedness, perversion, and sin. The only way back to the Father was through “repentance.” Time and time again, the people repented only to be lured back into unrighteous and idolatrous living. Tragically, as mankind continued to choose willingly to live apart from the Father, this estrangement created a huge void in the human heart that severely impacted succeeding generations. Even today, people are still confused about who they are. They have no clear sense of identity and harbor only the faintest hint that they are fashioned in the image and likeness of the Father. As a result, they are still outcasts. They have lost all awareness and understanding that they are part of a greater family, whose head is Christ. Sin has wrought catastrophe in human life. The Father, in His great big love and care for us, gave us His only begotten Son, that through Him would manifest a myriad of sons who are totally devoted to Him. Their lives would showcase the Father’s purposes and the earth would display its God-given order.

While the world may view those who love the Father as the real outcasts, the Father’s glory is far greater in capacity. His truth will always be revealed, and that truth says, “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” Those who have been set apart to live by the Father’s principles and standards know that they never have to prove themselves to anybody. With bold faith, courageous love, and immense, compassionate care, they produce the fruit of the Spirit. To those who have partaken of the Father’s goodness and have experienced His kindness but have digressed to living once more by the standards of the world, the Father returns many times, waiting patiently so healing can come to their hearts and they can once again feel the incredible warmth of His love.

There are many outcasts among us. Let us never give up on the Father’s purposes in people. Just as He has patiently worked—and continues to work—in our lives, let us also extend the same heart to people and help bring them to an understanding of their part in the family of God.