Rejected by the Church

I read an article recently about a teenage orphan in Florida who decided to be proactive in finding adoptive parents. He chose to go to church and address the congregation in order to see if someone would make him their child. He was born to a woman who was in jail and immediately taken into social services. The only thing his mom gave him was his name. He spent most of his life being angry at his situation and pushing people away, hoping his parents would show up one day.

When he started searching for them, he found that they were both deceased. He had to make a choice to continue being angry or to let it go. He chose the latter. His grades began to improve, and he began to become the person he knew he was inside. His comments are what stuck out to me the most in this article. He said he had never had a home or felt loved. He said, “I’ll take anyone. Old young. Black, white, or purple… I would be appreciative.” And then the article finished with him saying, “I know God hasn’t given up on me. So I’m not giving up either.”

My mind wants to go in so many ways with this. His whole life, all he’s wanted is what all of us want, to be loved. He wanted it from his birth parents, but now that’s not a possibility. He’ll take it from anyone. Thankfully he reached out to a church. Sadly, no one offered to adopt him. I’m hoping at least someone there had a burden to show him love, to accept him for who he is, and to begin to fill the void in his life. He knows he’s going to be on his own in a couple of years and would love having the support of family. Something most of us take for granted.

He said that he’d take anyone. He’s like a lot of people in this world. They’re broken and hurt. They’re looking for a place to belong. Are our churches a place where people like that kind find refuge from their pain? Or are they a clique for the self-righteous who feel they’re better than others? Have we become like the Pharisee in Luke 18 who looked up to Heaven and said, “I thank you, God, that I’m not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector. I fast twice a week and I give you a tenth of my income”? Have we become so caught up in our traditions and rituals that we’ve turned a blind eye to those reaching out to us?

This kid found rejection where he should have found acceptance. He found doubt in a place of faith. He was looking for love and walked away empty handed. May God forgive us for all of the times people like him have walked through our doors and walked out alone. May He open our eyes to those who come in this week and give us the courage to be His hands and feet. May we be His expression of love and acceptance to those the world has rejected. May we be a safe haven for those who need to find a refuge. If God hasn’t given up on them, neither should we. Let’s open our eyes today and find someone who needs love and offer it to them. Both of your lives will forever change.

If you’d like to read the article I referenced, you can read it here.

Update: Over 10,000 people have now inquired about adopting this young man! See that article here.