In loneliness, sickness, poverty, hunger, or neglect, they suffer quietly.

Outsiders sit alone eating their lunch. They stay at home, not invited.

But they have not been forgotten by God.

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On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten men with skin diseases approached him. Keeping their distance from him, they raised their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, show us mercy!”

Luke 17:11-13

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Lepers were outsiders, indeed. Leprosy pushed them outside. Outside of the village. Outside of society. Outside of hope. They kept a distance. They did not come close. They did not ask Jesus for healing. They cried out for mercy.

Every day people are pushed outside. Prejudice draws boundaries. Discrimination raises barriers. Injustice dashes hope. Poverty confines. Sickness isolates. The list goes on.

Outsiders yearn for community but keep at a safe distance. They hunger for hope as much as healing. Even their signals for help or cries for pity come from a calculated distance.

Who will draw near? Who will have pity? Who will show mercy? Where can healing be found?

James R. Smith

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God, make me aware when I am the outsider. Make me aware of outsiders around me. Oh God, draw near to me and use my life to be an instrument of mercy and healing for others. Amen.

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Jesus heals that which is broken and makes it stronger in the broken places.

In a fast-paced, diverse society, outsiders are all around.

Your word, your warmth, your walk, your friendliness can build a bridge of healing today.

James R. Smith

James R. (Jim) Smith is President of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Foundation. Smith has served as pastor and on staff of churches in Oklahoma, Texas, and Missouri. Jim and his wife Debra have a son, a daughter, 5 grandchildren, and live in Lilburn, Georgia with their dog, Barkley.

Making Space: Quiet As God

Carter Harrell

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