Do you ever notice the people who reside in the margins of your life–the elderly neighbor, the homeless guy with the sign standing at the side of the intersection, or the girl with acne bagging your groceries? There are folks we barely acknowledge at work, the gym, or even church.
Why, I wonder, do certain people draw my attention and others are pushed to the side in my mental overview of a room? I think Emily Sander got it right when she said, “Safety in a community gets defined by how the most marginal person in the community is treated. We all believe that if people could see into our hearts and know who we really are, we too might be rejected, so we notice how those at the margins are welcomed.”
Here’s a test to see how well you welcome the marginal people who occupy the borders of your life:
1. What are the names of the children of your least known neighbor? How many houses down from you does this family live?
2. Who always sits on the back row at church and why?
3. Who struggles with a serious health issue at your workplace or at your church? When did you last talk with them? What did you talk about?
4. Name three single moms you know who struggle raising their kids. How might you encourage them?
5. What is your mailman’s name?
Who are the marginal people in your life, and how are you treating them?
In Him together, Susan Gaddis