That Person in the Corner
We were right in the middle of the party when I saw him. He was standing in the corner, all alone. In the midst of a crowd of people, laughing cheerily with each other and having festive conversation, this guy couldn’t have looked lonelier. It’s a feeling I know all too well.
Then I felt a prompt to go talk to him. I wanted to look around and ask, “Um, Lord, are you talking to someone else? I don’t even know him!” But I knew better. If I didn’t face the awkward that always comes with meeting someone new, this guy might spend the entire night with no one to talk to. I knew what Jesus would do. Saying a silent prayer for the right words to say, I pushed my way through the crowds towards the guy in the corner.
And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother (1 John 4:21).
Have you ever experienced that feeling of knowing you need to include someone, but haven’t wanted to? I have. A lot. Unfortunately, I haven’t always done a great job making sure the person left out feels included. But recently I realized something: When we make an effort to include the un-included, we’re showing Jesus’ love to them!
It may not be popular. It might even drag us away from who we want to be with, but Jesus calls us to love the unloved.
The world may think it’s weird to show love to the left out, but the Bible has another message for us:
Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares (Heb. 13:1–2).
You may not be talking with an angel, but you will be including someone Jesus died for and loves.
A Game Plan For Awkward
Maybe you feel intimidated to talk with that lone person. (Me too!)
“What do I talk about? What if it’s awkward?”
Yep, it may be uncomfortable. Most growing experiences are. But the more you do it, the better you’ll become at guiding conversations. To help you out, I’ve included six questions to ask the loner in the corner the next time you spot him or her. These have helped me, and I hope they help you!
- What are your favorite holiday traditions?
This question works with pretty much any holiday, from New Year’s to Memorial Day. It’s simple, but it will get people talking!
- What’s your family like?
Everyone has a family, so it’s good common ground. Besides, if you get desperate you can ask how many brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc., etc., they have! It won’t get boring.
- What’s something interesting about your life story?
People really like to talk about their own lives. Find out about their activities, hobbies, passions, goals, what they’re reading, etc.
- Where do you go to church?
Asking about someone’s church can quickly turn the conversation from superficial topics to the spiritual and move it from shallow to deep. Your goal is to develop a relationship with that person (even if it’s just for the thirty minutes you talk with them) so that you can share the gospel, and I like to try to get a feel for where people are spiritually. Asking where they go to church can open doors of opportunity.
- What is the Lord teaching you?
If you discover that you’re talking with someone who professes Christ, let the conversation go deep by asking what the Lord is showing them through their devotional time or pastor. This is a great way to get to know someone, and for both of you to share what the Lord is teaching you. It’s fellowship at its finest!
- How can I pray for you?
The simple act of asking someone how you can pray for them may do more good than you realize. It’s a touching outreach of love!
Stepping in Christ’s Footsteps
James 2:8–9 says, “If you really fulfill the royal law according to Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.”
Our aim as Christians is to follow in the footsteps of Christ. Look at His ministry in Scripture. He loved and served those whom society scorned. The tax collector (Luke 19:1–10), the sick (Mark 6:53–56), the poor and unclean ( Mark 5:25–33). His concern was not for the “cool crowd” but for those the cool crowd left out.
The best part is that as you step forward boldly and act—because loving the unlovable is what Christ calls us to do—you will inspire others to do the same. Now let’s all get out there and show Christ’s love to that lonely partygoer in the corner!
How are you going to “include the un-included” this year? What’s one question you’ll ask that will help the excluded feel included?