The Door that welcomes the Rejected
Dr. J. N. Manokaran
Joshua Hunt has written a moving article: How I became a pathological liar? (New York Times, 13 July 2022) Being from a poor family, he told lies to mask his poverty in the school. He had to invent excuses for not participating in excursions, as he could not afford. “Observing this etiquette doesn’t feel dishonest because its falsehoods recognize the deeper truth that many of society’s institutions are hostile to the poor. Lying to the landlord keeps a roof over our heads. Lying to the social worker keeps our family together. Lying to ourselves allows us to believe it’s all going to be OK, somehow, someday.” Yes, institutions are hostile to the poor. A poor person may not be able to enter the very department (social welfare) created to uplift poor like him. Malls that were constructed by him is closed. The highways he built, will not be his walking space.
Rejected and poor
Most people are rejected as they are poor
Lord Jesus taught that the blessed are poor as they shall inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. (Matthew 5: 3) There are many kinds of poor people. Generally, the privileged wish that the poor are not seen or heard. The voice of blind Bartimaeus was a disruption for those were around Lord Jesus Christ, they wanted him to be silent. (Mark 6:48)
Materially poor: There are many people who are destitute, very poor, desperate, and sometimes starve. They do not own any land or assets or capital. In fact, many of them may not even have skills to serve and gain decent income.
Spiritually poor, are those who do not know Lord Jesus Christ. They are misled, exploited, oppressed, and killed by religious leaders. Lord Jesus called them as thieves and robbers. They deceitfully led them astray or forcefully looted their life. (John 10: 8,10)
Mentally poor: People who do not have knowledge, education. There are numerous people who do not have known to read and write. Hence, they listen to others, who may not guide them in the right path. Many are deprived of truth because of mental blindness caused by Satan. (II Corinthians 4:4)
Physically poor: There are many who are chronically ill. Others who are handicapped or disabled.
Psychologically poor: People who do not have appropriate self-image and self-esteem. In fact, they are unable to accept themselves. In their imagination they are not beautiful or handsome; poor; not talented; not intelligent; no skills; no friends; no resources; no one to help…etc. They consider themselves as useless, unwanted and some even commit suicide.
Emotionally poor : These people are sad, depressed and feel they are victims of circumstances. They have a sense of loss, but unable to know what their loss is. Joy and peace are missing ingredients in their lives. Fear also dominates their life.
Socially poor: People who are without friends, connections, and references. People in the society, place them in the lower rung of hierarchy like members of lower castes. Lower the hierarchy, lesser are the friends or people who could help them. Socially poor are those hurting from broken relationships.
Politically poor: People who do not have citizen status in a country. They could be refugees and live as slaves or undocumented migrants. There are others, who are ill-treated as second-class citizens.
Biblical case study
“There was a little city with few men in it, and a great king came against it and besieged it, building great siege works against it. But there was found in it a poor, wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that poor man. But I say that wisdom is better than might, though the poor man's wisdom is despised and his words are not heard.” (Ecclesiastes 9:14-16)
Poor contribute: Poor people contribute for the welfare of the city or society. In the incident, the poor man was wise and contributed to the city by his wisdom. Poor not only provide physical manual labour or other skills, they contribute their knowledge and wisdom for the city.
Poor protect: This poor man saved the city. Their contribution is vital for the safety of the city. In the cities, poor clean the city. Without their contribution for hygiene, the cities would be plagued with diseases and destruction.
Poor are neglected: Though helps the poor person helps to save the city, he is not remembered. There is no statue or memorial for him. The poor are easily forgotten. There are people who wish poor people to be removed from their sight. There is no recognition of the poor man's services. There is no reward or award for the poor man while the rich, wicked and corrupt get their memorials and museums.
Poor are despised: Indeed, the poor people are despised. They are not only ignored, but they are also despised or ridiculed. No one wants to listen to their wisdom. Their contribution is demeaned or trivialized.
Attitude of rich towards poor: Three aspects
There is no attitude of caring, sharing and providing dignity to others. The parable of the rich man and Lazarus brings forth three prominent attitudes. (Luke 16: 19-31)
Arrogance: The pavement dwellers from the rich man’s balcony were clearly visible. This beggar was an annoyance. Even today, the rich want the slums to be out of sight, poor to be invisible in the city. In an honour and shame culture, India has to be displayed as city with malls, skyscrapers, space power, nuclear power and quest for water from moon. For these, getting pizza in fifteen minutes is progress. Police or ambulance arriving few hours later in rural areas is not newsworthy and such news should be banned from media.
Overfed: This man was overfed and was not willing to share. In ancient times, thin flat breads were used as tissues to wipe hands while eating. That were thrown out, which the poor man tried to catch, so were the dogs on the streets.
Unconcerned: The rich man was unconcerned, did not have sympathy or mercy on that beggar named Lazarus. It was easy, simple and possible for the rich man to provide one good meal for the beggar. It would have hardly made any difference in his home budget. Graciousness and generosity are not a natural human virtue. This rich man thought he was fortunate, lucky and even divinely blessed that he need not be concerned about less fortunate, marginalized and deprived. He did not understand, God has placed this poor man right there to test his character. The rich man failed miserably in the character evaluation.
Doorkeepers reject people
There will be always doorkeepers or security guards at the doors of the rich people in palaces as well as at city gates. The city gates were guarded that the enemies do not enter. Also, they were careful that the rejected, like lepers do not come in. The poor cannot enter the homes of rich and powerful, as there would be watchmen who stop them. Even in public places like malls or high-end restaurants, the security guards will not allow a poor person to enter.
Lord Jesus Christ said: “I am the door of the sheep.” (John 10: 7-10) In the olden days, the pen or enclosure for sheep had a circular fencing in the open fields with one door. The shepherd was himself the door that he used to lay his body across. Lord Jesus opened the door or the way through His body for humanity to be saved. (Hebrew 10:20) Lord does not outsource his role to doorkeepers but as the Good Shepherd, he Himself is the Gate and Door. The rejected: poor, oppressed, neglected, boycotted, ostracised, exploited and hated; could come to Him in faith, confidence and hope. He always invites, welcomes and accepts those who come to him in humility and faith.
Sadly, there are many who are near the door, fail to enter like the Elder son in the Parable of Prodigal Son. (Luke 15:11-32)
Lord Jesus is the Eternal door who invites all who respond to His call.
1. Door of Hope
The Holy and Most exalted name of Lord Jesus Christ inspires hope. Humans throughout the history saw misery, violence, death, toil, oppression, starvation and diseases. There was only hopelessness and darkness. The death and resurrection of Lord Jesus Christ gave hope to humanity. Yes, the door of hope was opened for the blind and hopeless.
2. Door of reconciliation
The access to the Garden of Eden was denied to Adam and Eve. The Fall created an unfathomable gap and irredeemable status for humans. Lord Jesus Christ by His incarnation, death and resurrection paved a way for reconciliation with God. God the Father reconciled the world through Lord Jesus Christ and gave the church the ministry of reconciliation. (II Corinthians 5:11-21)
3. Door of freedom
Human status is blindness, darkness, slavery, and death. The Lord Jesus Christ is door of freedom. Satan imposed blindness is cured by the gospel. (II Corinthians 4:4) People living in spiritual darkness will get freedom to walk in light. (Matthew 4:16) Those who live under the slavery of sin are liberated. The door freedom gives victory over Second death. (Revelation 21:8)
4. Door of dreams
When a person comes to Lord Jesus Christ, he gets capacity to aspire. In the other philosophies of life, there is no dream only fate or luck. The karma limits a person into a box and can never escape to desire or aspire for anything. However, the Spirit of God enables a person to see visions and dreams.(Joel 2:28) Old, young, servants and servant maids can dream for great life of joy and peace.
5. Door of provision
The door, who is our Lord Jesus Christ, creates a marvellous relationship with God the Father. Food, drink, cloth…are sought by those who know not the Heavenly Father. That heavenly Father is one who feeds all the birds of the air and clothes the grass of the field. He knows, has resource and joyfully provide the needs of His children. (Matthew 6: 25-33) Lord has promised pasture for those go in through the door. (John 10:9)
6. Door of protection
Doors are designed to keep certain things out and allow in certain things. Lord Jesus knows whom he should allow in. Lord does not allow Satan or his angels to afflict his children. There is sorcery or divination against the people of God. (Numbers 23:23) Our Lord has promised to protect His children as apple of his eye. (Deuteronomy 32:10; Psalms 17:8)
7. Door to enter Eternal life
Those who come to the Lord in faith shall be saved. (John 10:9) They shall be saved from sin, slavery, second death and hell. The eternal life that our Lord provides is to live with Him in Heaven forever. One who has the Son of God has life eternal. (I John 5:12)
Challenge: Bring them in
The mission mandate for the disciples is to go out, search for sheep that is not in the fold and bring them in. (John 10:16) The Nation of Israel thought that they are the only sheep of God. Lord Jesus reminded them, that there are sheep that are not in the fold, and He will bring them in, to make one flock. The Church represents the Gracious Saviour in the world. The doors of the church should be always open for all kinds of rejected people to reform, revive and renew them as His sheep.