True inclusion comes from God and is embodied in John 3:16. Here we read those wonderful words, “whoever believes…has eternal life.”
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Words like all or everyone signify inclusion. No one is left out that wants to be included. In life we long to be accepted, included and chosen. I have tried to help educate people on how important inclusion is, what it truly is and how everyone, not just someone that is different or has special needs, would benefit. True inclusion is not merit based. It does not depend on whether that person can earn a place, be good enough, or is just like us.
True Inclusion Belongs to God
In our human frailty, I don’t believe we can completely grasp what true inclusion is and yet the more I have thought about this subject about being included I realize that true inclusion belongs to God. He orchestrates it. He offers it. He paid a great price that we can be restored to fellowship and be part of his family – truly included. Yet even though the price has been paid and inclusion is ours for the asking, it is up to us to accept his offer.
The Bible tells us in John 1: 12
Yet to all who received Him (Jesus) to those who believed in His name, he gave the right to become children of God
Everyone, whoever, all – are words of inclusion. The Bible tells us that God is not willing that any should perish – he longs to have everyone accept his gift and have a relationship with him. I am humbled and in awe of his grace and forgiveness, of his including me.
I enjoy meeting other people and hearing their stories. In our church we have a Karen and Vietnamese congregation as well as our own. We have people of different backgrounds, cultures and languages and sometimes we worship together – all inclusive, all accepted all part of the family of believers despite out apparent differences. We have young people and old people, babies and middle aged. There are people of various skin colours and languages. People have different skills, abilities and gifts yet we have one Lord and Saviour in Jesus Christ. What a picture of true inclusion.
Wonderfully Made By God
We are all wonderfully made by God. We are all loved by him – but he does not like the things we do that he has told us not to do. Yet he does not cast us away but waits for us to ask him to forgive, to heal, to restore. Then he gladly and graciously does.
A number of years ago, when my grandchildren were toddlers and just beginning school, I made them each a small crocheted afghan in their favourite colours. The little blankets were all the same size but personalized for each child. As the grandchildren grew, the blankets became too small to snuggle under. Several of them asked me to make big ones for them. They wanted ones made with granny square in their favourite colours.
I began to work on them. I purchased the yarn and started crocheting squares. I completed one blanket after fifty hours of work and knew I could never get eleven of them done before Christmas that year even though it was only May.
Christmas morning there were disappointed grandchildren, at least the ones who had been longing for the new blanket to come that year. But they kept hoping that next year would be the year to receive the gift. I kept working and as I began the last one, I heard from others that I shouldn’t bother making one for the eldest grandson – according to his sister and mother he was making poor, or in their words, stupid choices and didn’t deserve one. Nor did his mom know whether he would even accept it.
I asked his sister, “If I made for everyone else, do you think I’d leave him out?”
She shook her head and said, “No grandma, you love us all and would never leave one of us out.”
I did love all of them but I didn’t like some of the choices they made.
She was right. His choices were harming him which made me sad, but it didn’t stop me from loving him and including him. I finished his afghan and wrapped it up. He would have a choice whether to accept the gift or not. It was bought and paid for, regardless of his choices.
This story reminds me so much of God’s love for us, at least in an imperfect human way. God paid the price by sending Jesus to die on the cross and rise again – to take out place. The gift is available to every person but not because we deserve it – simply because God loves us and includes each one of us.
May you be encouraged to know you are loved by God, included in the gift he gave.
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Carol Harrison B.Ed is a speaker and published author with one book, Amee’s Story and stories in twelve anthologies. She is passionate about helping people of all ages and ability levels find their voice and reach their fullest potential. She knows, through personal experience that some of life’s experiences are tougher than others. She encourages people that even in the twists and turns of life God’s amazing grace provides hope. She lives in Saskatoon, SK with her husband Brian. They have four adult children and a dozen grandchildren. Visit her website carolscorner.ca
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