Outlier (definition: noun): a person excluded from a group; an outsider.
Those that are particularly vulnerable to feeling rejected are likely to feel like outliers when rejected. But that would be all of us. None of us like to be rejected. Likewise, none of us like to be feel excluded by reason of prejudice, which is very often delivered silently, where the body language communicates volumes. Much more bullying takes place covertly than overtly.
The good thing about having felt like an outlier is we get to feel how unacceptable it is that people would treat other people like this—especially those who should know better—those who believe in love, supposedly—but don’t make the effort, or don’t have conscience enough, to create opportunities for inclusiveness.
People who espouse to be loving, yet don’t act that way reveal a fearful level of hypocrisy, based in pride or greed. But the focus of this article is about the daring of the outlier toward advocacy for other outliers.
A Poignant Biblical Example of Prejudice
Jesus struggled with prejudice and was treated like an outlier at his hometown of Nazareth. Such was the effect of the negativity of the people against him he could not do any miracles there. It wasn’t as though he didn’t want to. He couldn’t!
Well, he did cure a few sick people there, but his divine powers were rendered almost perfectly ineffective, because he was so amazed at their unbelief. Their unbelief had quenched the spiritual power within Jesus.
Likewise, the effect of prejudice quenches our spiritual power when we encounter it; when we feel like an outlier. We feel awkward, self-conscious, and unable to draw on the confidence that God so effectively speaks into our lives at other times.
But the outlier has a special purpose: to become an advocate for other outliers.
The Caring of Advocacy
Why is it so people choose to exclude,
When to love, it’s simple, we must include,
But the experience of an outlier is preciously rare,
Because by their exclusion they know how to care.
When an outlier converts their shame for having been rejected into anger against the injustice for being rejected, and they are then able to save that stored indignant energy to advocate for others, they are a powerful weapon for God.
There is no shortage of outliers in our world. When we empathise with other outliers, particularly the ones who have special disadvantages, God speaks to us about how we can defend the defenceless and speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.
When we are rejected, and we feel like outliers, we have a special duty. We feel what it feels like to be discriminated against, and then we convert the prejudice against us into a force for advocacy for outsiders with special disadvantages. We turn the force for evil against us into a force for good for the disadvantaged.
When good fights good, good always wins! Injustice is merely fuel for action.
Those who know injustice know most why it’s important to care.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.