This world can be a messed up place. There is plenty of hurt to go around. I cannot begin to tell you how many times there have been people I knew well who were hurting in some deep and troubling ways that took years to be aware of or even begin to understand.

Sometimes the church itself is the cause of some of the hurt. There is so much good Christianity and churches do that gets overshadowed by the tough spots, we shouldn’t overlook the good…but we should also understand how we contribute to the problem and the solution.

There are few things harder than living life of abandonment and feeling utterly alone. It is good to know that God made us to belong to Him.

Human beings will never perfectly embrace us. We will struggle with division until the day Jesus comes back. In Christ we don’t have to be in that position. We have a family even when our bio-family leaves us. We have brothers and sisters…fathers and mothers…even when those we grew up with left us over various issues or departed in death.

You belong with God and that means you belong in God’s family, the church. It takes great care to navigate how to help people belong in the midst of situations and struggles that can so easily exclude people. This takes prayer. This takes patience. This takes a long hard look at our own struggles to see just how many things God overlooked to accept each and every one of us.

Last, we Christians are not universalists, so how do we jive God’s overarching desire for our belonging with his instructions in scripture that seem to exclude? We will examine this and and a host of other issues in our December issue of Wineskins!

Thanks for reading!