To become better disciples of Christ, we must have “the courage to confront our own prejudices and to challenge the assumptions we make about others.” —Phillip D. Rash
We may feel we belong when most of the people in our communities look like us and have similar experiences to us. But how do people who look, think, or behave differently than we do feel? In his BYU devotional “Looking to the Margins: Creating Belonging,” Phillip D. Rash says that belonging to a community “has been described as a basic human need.” Therefore, as disciples of Christ, we should help create welcoming communities for our brothers and sisters who feel like they “live on the periphery or on the margins.”
Christ himself was on the margins of society in his day, and he spent time with many people who did not fit the traditional mold. “He ate with them, He walked with them, He cried with them, He healed them, He validated them, and He listened to them,” Rash says. Christ even called people from the margins of society to be apostles, showing by example that every person, marginalized or not, has divine worth and potential.
To better follow the Savior, we should all make an effort to rid ourselves of prejudices toward others. Rash believes that as disciples we must “acknowledge that there really is a margin and that some people have lived on that margin for a very long time.” We must also “acknowledge that history leaves scars,” and we must listen with love and understanding to help foster a sense of belonging.
As we strive to create inclusive communities, we may be unsure where to start or may worry that we’ll cause offense. But fear of making mistakes should not keep us from reaching out. As we “invite others in from the periphery to a place of belonging and abundance, we will surely stumble and trip over ourselves,” Rash acknowledges, but “the important thing is that we try.”
Learn more about how to create a sense of belonging for everyone in Phillip D. Rash’s full devotional, “Looking to the Margins: Creating Belonging.”
Source: BYU Speeches
—Sarah Riley, Latter-day Saint Insights
FEATURE IMAGE BY JEHYUN SUNG
Find more insights
To learn what Dallin H. Oaks says about why disciples must rid themselves of prejudice, read “President Oaks Remarks at Worldwide Priesthood Celebration” from Mormon Newsroom.
Read about the relationship between diversity and unity in the Ensign article “The Blessings of Diversity” by Bryant Jensen.