Have you ever been rejected or felt like you don’t belong? This theme of belonging keeps popping up in things I read, listen to, and see. Every single person was created to be in community, wired to belong. That’s why people placed in solitary confinement literally go insane. I’ve watched people seek community in so many ways. People seek it within their church, their kids' sports affiliation, the running community, their neighborhood, work, long-standing friend groups— hoping to satisfy that God-given desire within us. I recently heard heaven being described as an “eternal belonging”. How beautiful and sweet that is that!

Galatians 3:28 says “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” We’ve all experienced the pain of rejection and the awkwardness of not fitting in, but in Christ we have an eternal BELONGING. Therefore, let us lace our relationships here on earth with deep humility and agape love as we prepare to enter into that eternal belonging one day.

What are some ways we can include others and welcome them into ‘Belonging’? First, we can bear one another’s burdens James 5:16 says “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” A sweet aroma develops and deep bonds are forged in the vulnerability of sharing our weaknesses & shortcomings with one another with the goal of helping to gently restore one another.

Next, we can forgive one another. Ephesians 4:32 says “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” When I find this difficult and want to push someone away out of offense or hurt, I reflect on my own fallible human condition and how much forgiveness has been bestowed upon me. This greatly humbles me, fills me with compassion and helps me forgive others.

Also, attempt to step out of the shadows of your own discomfort, insecurity, and pain to invite others the way you want to be invited. Jesus said in Matthew 25:45 “Then he will answer them, saying, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.'” God’s word promises that you’ll find yourself refreshed by refreshing others. How refreshing is it to feel acknowledged, loved and invited?

Last, share the gospel with anyone and everyone to invite them to be apart of the ULTIMATE belonging. Mark 16:15 says, “‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.'” Maybe you’re currently feeling rejected, alone, misunderstood, hurt—take comfort knowing the God of the universe came to earth as a man, experienced ALL of those feelings, was brutally murdered and rose again three days later all so you could have the opportunity to belong, my friends.

As much as I’ve heard this, I needed this reminder today. I am unconditionally loved, saved by His rich grace and I BELONG. If you’ve never heard that then here is your invite! Come as you are to the foot of the cross, today. Repent, put your faith in Christ and belong forevermore.

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Priscilla Millsap is a member of Lakeshore City Church. She is a wife to Josh and mother of four. Her passion is knowing Jesus more, raising her children to know Jesus and loving people like Jesus.