If you have children, you may have encountered a scene like this: it's the first day of Kindergarten, and one of them just voiced their concern about not knowing anyone. So, in this scenario, you teach them the way to make friends—to find someone and spark up a conversation.
But, as kids start to grow up (somewhere around middle school), something happens and, instead of including, they begin excluding.
Now it becomes a battle to belong. This is where the enemy steps in. He gives children doubt and insecurity, that "not good enough" feeling. He uses this to begin the process of destroying our next generation... taking them further and further from God.
"Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." – 1 Peter 5:8
Unfortunately, this battle happens to adults as well.
Have you ever walked into a place where you felt alone? Where you knew no one? This happens all the time. It could be a new school, a new job, a new neighborhood, a new church, a networking conference... you get the point.
You probably know the feeling... you walked into a room, looking around to find somewhere to sit, and no one says "hello" or even speaks to you. You saw groups of people talking and laughing, yet the place really didn't make you feel welcome at all.
Did you like that feeling?
If you had an option, would you go back to that place again?
You would likely rather retreat. After that moment, you probably wouldn't want to go in public, to go to school, or to go anywhere. And you definitely wouldn't want to go back to that place.
We've probably all experienced this at one time or another, this feeling of not belonging. This is an awkward feeling which can be very harsh on our confidence and hard to recover from.
Now, even though you may not have an outgoing personality which allows you to walk up to a total stranger and introduce yourself, we're ALL called to reach out to others, to be "fishers of men" (Matthew 4:19).
And since you have may no idea what's going on in the lives of all the people around you at any given moment, you must intentionally build into your life room for people who need grace and mercy.
And guess what? Everyone needs grace and mercy.
"Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God." – Romans 15:7
It's time for you to step out of your own world and become aware of all those people around you. As you go about your day, whenever you see someone standing alone or looking around aimlessly, go introduce yourself. Talk to them.
Be that person.
Why? Because you understand what it feels like to be excluded and, how exclusion negatively affected you. Because you remember how you never wanted to return to that place where you felt excluded... or to ever have that harsh feeling again.
The glory of God won't be fully revealed through you unless you accept people right where they are. You couldn't have become all God has made you to be by yourself—and neither can they. And it's up to you to take that first step. Be intentional!
And keep teaching your children, at all ages, to look for those sitting by themselves and to go and make new friends.
In doing this, Christ will shine through you. You may just save a life—emotionally and spiritually.
— Kellie L. Craft is a single mother of a teenage daughter and has two funny dogs. She's a devout Christian and the founder of Frog Communications, a certified SEO Copywriting and Consulting business. Protecting our children is a top priority for her. She's currently working on a book that will help support her friend's dream of opening a God-driven orphanage one day. To learn more about Kellie's work, visit http://www.FrogCommunications.com and http://www.KellieCraft.com.