Sunday: Bottom Dwellers

Societies establish hierarchies. Wealthy or well-educated people usually acquire the highest positions.

Image © Jeff Preston from

Image © Jeff Preston from

Good moral citizens, the ordinary people, normally occupy the middle rungs on the social ladder. That leaves the bottom dwellers, those such as prostitutes, substance abusers, criminals, the homeless, and others. During Christ’s time, that list also included lepers and tax collectors.

Read Matthew 21:28-32 and Luke 15:1-10. What do these passages teach regarding Christ’s attitude toward social outcasts?

What happened that propelled the social outcasts ahead of the self-righteous? What did the bottom dwellers discover that the social elite often missed? Why was Jesus apparently more effective in reaching the bottom strata than He was with the upper echelons?

Although hardened by sinful pleasures, and sometimes encased in self-constructed tough exteriors, the social outcasts were, and still are, easier to reach than the prideful, haughty, and self-righteous elite. Often, beneath the outcasts’ bravado lies emotional emptiness characterized by poor self-worth. Frequently, especially during the teenage years, such people openly rebel, frantically trying to establish a personal identity to compensate for the insecurities felt within. That identity is, purposefully, established in opposition to the wishes of whoever serves as the authority figure (often parents) for that person.

Jesus wasted no effort damaging their already diminished sense of self-worth. Instead, He created a renewed sense of personal value. He established that foundation by consistently loving and accepting the outcasts, whose hearts were often melted by the warm and loving receptions that they had received from Christ.

What is your own attitude toward those whom your society deems to be social outcasts? Be honest: in a lot of cases, don’t you feel a certain sense of superiority? If so, dwell on the implications of those feelings.



Sunday: Bottom Dwellers — 19 Comments

  1. The note about the hardened exterior that encloses an inner emptiness reminds one of 1 Peter 2:1-2. When the sinful tendencies of these people have been removed the outward bravado and hardened exteriors make them good containers of the precious truths.

  2. [Moderator's note. Please use your full name as per our policy.]

    Its amazing how we don't even accomodate our neibours who are beer drinkers, proffesional prostitutes, and all that we openly knw as sinners

    • It wasn't easy then, Its not an easy thing to do now. Often we are afraid of soiling our reputation in the society we live.
      But most of those people are desperate to get out of their dirty life and its only you and me who can help them. There will be pretenders "yes" but Christ is equally in need of them.

  3. Christ came to find the.button dwellers bcus they can easily listen and understand. him .though he need every body ,but people who will help him to do his work .GOD help us.

  4. Who are the outcasts of our day?
    Very few of us have contact with people in the list above eg. prostitutes, drug abusers etc.

    • Hmmn! the problem is that often the prostitutes (promiscuous) and the substance abusers are often well-to-do and living in our own neighbourhood. They are not the social and economic outcasts we sometimes stereotype them as. They sometime call this the hidden social problem. That does not remove their need, nor our responsibility in seeking them out and helping them. We are God's hands!

      • You are correct; but I still think that most people would be hard-pressed to identify one prostitute, drug user, criminal or homeless person.

        My first point is that to many of us these people are invisible *by (societal) design*. It may be, as you have suggested slightly, that God needs to lead us to these people.
        My second point is that this list is incomplete. There are many others that the church looks down on.

        • What are the "many others the church looks down on" -you speak of? Examples please? I'm curious as to what else comes to mind...

  5. [Moderator's note. Please use your full name as per our policy.]

    Society deems you as castout and the bitter things they say about you is so ridiculous..none of us have any idea why these people are behaving in that way,some may come from homes where they were abused physically,mentally and emotionally.Christ however reach out to them because they were like lost sheep and he found them.Our duty today is to do likewise stop looking at them as outcast but try reaching out to them and sharing the gospel wit them..who knows they may be hurting inside and to only way they feel they can express their feelings is by being outcast..we have a job to do by letting them know that Christ love them and he died to save them.

  6. Praise be to God who loves all mankind no matter what and that nothing will
    separate us from the love of God (as it is written in Romans). Coming from a strong SDA family, I've always been in the church all my life, but I can confess (as the Lord knows) my dear brothers and sisters that I was judgmental and self-righteous towards the bottom class in my early years as a christian. That the darkest of sinners did not deserve to know Christ, how wrong and ignorant I was, Christ died "for all" not only a few. And who am I to judge, I am also a sinner saved by grace. How judgmental and critical can we as Christians be sometimes ? ,instead of being judgmental or self-righteous or prideful or all knowing let us humble ourselves before the Lord that He may mold and use us as a vessel for His Holy Spirit to a world that is dying,because without Him we can do nothing.

  7. Me personally no! Because I know God and I have a relationship with him. I know where he took me from however, I see others who claim to be followers of God act in that manner. They refuse to sit eat and socialize with others who are not like them. They think they are indeed superior. I often wonder how those people will be judge by God. "Our society lacks compassion and therefore adds to the error and wickedness of this world"-HI_Truth

  8. Society respect wealth, post, status and all those outward attributes. But thank God for Jesus who sees us not just from the outside, He sees our hearts. He understand why we behave in a certain way. He knows our intentions and does not judge us based on the standards set by our societies. Jesus is always ready to give us chance to be His desciples. Even though our society may say reject or even orstracise us, Christ will always give everyone equal opportunity. Praise God for He is God

    • Did you ever heard the term, "If you go to a certain SDA church that is where the rich or well to do go. Therefore many people do not want to go their because it is reserved for a certain class/sect. I say to people as much as possible, we have to make sure our heart is right with God. Everyday I ask myself, "Jesus, how do I stand before that great White Throne should I die today? Is my sins all blotted our? How do you see me at the end of the day? Did I represent You before men as I ought to today?
      We came from different societies. What might be referred to as "bottom dwellers" in one culture might not be referred to in another. People in general, "Top or bottom dwellers need the Lord" that is my motto every day to seek out people as do witness to them.

  9. "Societies establish hierarchies". The church is part of the society. But when the church functions as the society, we have problems. It is sad to say many things I wanted to say cannot be said at this level. But we all have to be real. We are living in a real world therefore hierarchies are everywhere.
    In Jesus' time, many of the people were physically ill as well as mentally/spiritually or socially ill. Many spiritually sickness presents themselves as physical illness. Jesus reconized those who were demon possessed and cast out the demons from them, afterward he ministered to them. In our day, everyone appears to us as physically, social or mentally ill, but we as a people do not reconized people who are spiritually ill. Many are demon possessed both in the church as well as our society that is why the behave the way the do, but if you are not walking and living in the same spirit Jesus was walking and living with, we are powerless. We do not trouble them, the take havoc of those poor souls. The people of God needs a more closer walk with God to do the things Jesus did.

  10. Jesus is home for all just as he stands at the every door of our various homes knocking if anyone that hears and open he will surely enter and dine with him.let's open 4 him

  11. Reminds me of the song:

    Lord through your eyes, help me see my brother, through your eyes
    Create in me a tender heart, that breaks in little pieces when I learn to see, my precious brother, through your eyes.

  12. No, I do not feel superior to anyone, because I feel like I have been at the bottom & except for the grace & love & assistance of God, "there go I."

  13. This also has made me to think of the reception our evangelistic meetings receive. Come to think about it, of these societal classes under discussion, who readily accepts our teachings? Often times it is those lowly in the society! And as a church we need to rethink the treatment we accord to such people. I have a strong feeling somewhere, somehow, we haven't the level Christ wants as to reach.

  14. God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved. John 3:17. The pharisees were like a son living with a step son at his father's home, who would not like hearing his father calling a step son 'my son'. Their jealous kept them monitoring how this prominent man would treat them in everything he did. If ever we are dreaming of heaven, we should re-consider these things!


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