To marginalize is to treat a person, group, or concept insignificant or peripheral. This happens when one sees himself better than the other and looks at the fellow with contempt. The marginalised, therefore, are those who are treated insignificant or perceived to be inferior either because of their race, the language they speak, where they come from, the work they do or their financial background.
This challenge is common in some churches and communities where people due to economic, social, ethnic or cultural reasons see themselves as more enlightened, important, blessed or better placed than the other. This brings about hate comments, insults, disrespect, foul language against the other, oppression, violent behaviours or in the worst form assaults or murder.
How does the Bible want us to treat others? Are some human beings really more important than others? How would the Lord treat those who despise others? In what forms do we marginalize people, what are the effects of marginalization and how can we break the barrier of marginalization and relate well with all people?
In today’s passage, Jesus called Matthew, a tax collector sitting in his tax booth, to follow Him. Matthew was from that day numbered among the disciples and named an apostle of our Lord. Jesus went ahead and ate with many tax collectors and people who were called sinners by the people, they had been rejected and considered insignificant by the religious leaders who should have demonstrated the love of God to them.
Today, there are people who may feel shy to relate with others because they may have one form of disability or the other. We may feel reluctant in sharing the gospel with some neighbours because of their ethnic group or the way society perceives them. Against the murmuring of the teachers of the law and the religious leaders, Jesus related well with the tax collectors and sinners. May we, like Jesus, find space in our lives for the poor, rejected and the marginalized.