Where the Outcast Weeps

Our hearts of stone become hearts of flesh when we learn where the outcast weeps. ~ Brennan Manning

I loved this when I first read Abba’s Child. I loved the poetry and imagery. I loved the idea of it. But I didn’t get it – not really.

The day came when I knew I didn’t know. How do you learn where the outcast weeps? I’d heard things like: Look at Jesus. Do what He did. He hung out with the outcasts. Go and hang out.

And that’s true, but there’s more.

Jesus was an outcast. So was His Father. They still are. That’s the mark of  grace.

For a very long time, I did all I could do not to be an outcast. I tried so hard to do everything right. I was afraid of being broken. I was afraid of the rejection. I was afraid of the embarrassment. I was afraid of being hurt. I protected my heart until it hardened. God has a name for that. Pride.

First pride, then the crash. The bigger the ego, the harder the fall. ~The Message, Proverbs 16:18

I didn’t want to stand in the soup line. I wanted to be the one serving it up. I wanted to be the one who gave and didn’t need to get. I didn’t get it.

Only broken people know where the outcast weeps because they’ve wept there.

I’m not going to kid you, grace will mark you, break you. You’ll never look perfect again. Not to yourself and not to others. You’ll mend but the cracks will always show. It all depends on what you want.

If you want a heart of flesh, don’t just hang with the outcasts, admit that you are one. Then go to the place where the outcast weeps and find comfort.

Author: Debbie

A former counselor and public speaker, I'm grateful for many, many things - God's grace most of all!

33 thoughts on “Where the Outcast Weeps”

  1. The world in general cast out Christ and still does. So to shall we be cast out. Then there are the ones who are not only cast out, but are thrown down and walked on as well.
    I identify with these people, I have been one of them.

    When you are confused, when you are hurting, when you seem to be walking in hell and have forgotten where the door is to leave….remember that Jesus has never forgotten you.

    @iamnotshe….grace and peace be with you my sister. The Lord is always with you as you walk, you need only speak His name, reach for His hand. Perfection is not required, complete understanding is not essential. Just give the Lord your love…you already have His.

    Thank you Debbie for an amazing post, you are a wonderful traveling companion with much grace to share.
    Bless you my sister
    Greg

    1. “Just give the Lord your love…you already have His.”
      What a wonderful benediction for all of us, Greg!
      love and grace to you, my friend,
      ~ Debbie

  2. Dear Debbie

    I have MISSED you and being here and then BAMMO

    THIS:

    “I’m not going to kid you, grace will mark you, break you. You’ll never look perfect again. Not to yourself and not to others. You’ll mend but the cracks will always show.”

    now words. this just sucker punched me in a really really good way. I am with Heidi.

    I REALLY miss being here with you guys.

    Debbie this is a truly beautiful post.

    Love, Jen

    1. OK, spying, yep! DITTO Jen. Grace ain’t Grace Kelly 🙂 Not perfection on the outside … it’s all about rearranging the internals, eh? xo

      1. Mel –
        😀 No definitely not Grace Kelly!
        I’m just a completely imperfect package – inside and out.
        I think that’s part of why I changed my Gravatar.
        The old one was only a few years old, but it was taken (in San Fran) before I quite highlighting my hair.
        Last night I just sat down with the camera and held it out a took a shot – no make up, my nightly white t-shirt work uniform.
        Just me, scars and all. 😉
        Yep, not Grace Kelly for sure!
        ~ Debbie

    2. Jen –
      And you’ve certainly been missed!
      As I’ve shared before, when I was 19, I was in a head-on collision with a drunk driver (I was going about 55, she was going at least 65).
      I got broken.
      I eventually healed but I have rather large scars on my jaw and knee.They’ve never really bothered me.
      How ironic that I’ve made no attempt to cover my physical scars, but have desperately tried to cover my spiritual brokenness.
      I no longer go where the outcasts go. I live there. That’s where my Father pitched my tent. It suites me.
      It’s always wonderful to see you, whenever you’re in the neighborhood!
      Much love to you,
      ~ Debbie

  3. I read this and was just stopped in my tracks. I’m agreeing with everyone who is saying this is an extra special post, gracious one. “only broken people know where the outcast weeps. . .” I don’t want to forget where that place is. God bless you and your grace journey. I’m thinking this needs to go in the book.
    love and prayers!
    p.s. loved Sis Caddo’s comment about you just being disguised as a gate guard! 🙂
    p.s.s. forgot to tell you that you are more than welcome to the poem! 🙂

    1. Dearest Deb –
      It’s interesting that Grace is starting to make a comeback. Not as a trending hot Christian topic, but real Grace.
      I heard Max Lucado interviewed on the local news tonight and it’s the topic of his new book. I had no idea he lives in San Antonio (about 80 miles north of here).
      And Brennan’s long awaited autobiography (which I haven’t read but will) is called: All is Grace: A Ragamuffin Memoir.
      And that’s it isn’t it?
      I’m a ragamuffin and all is grace!
      Love to you and thank you for the beautiful poem. It will show up here one of these days!
      ~ Debbie

  4. Oh Debbie–this is Beyond Fabulous, such a great deep word. I’m thinking that you’ve taken your ministry of Grace on the road–just disguised yourself as a gate guard, hmm? God bless you, dear Sis–love, sis Caddo

    1. Dear Caddo, skpg (if you use small letters it looks a lot like skipping) – 😀
      Funny you should say that, Every time I put on that glow in the dark vest I feel like I’m in a disguise! I’m about as unlikely as they come for a job like this!
      Thank you for your sweet words here.
      Praying tonight for love and grace to hover and land gently out there in the Pacific Northwest!
      ~ Debbie

    1. Dear Judi –
      You certainly got a belly full of grace in one day! 😀
      Thank you for reading and thank you for letting me know what you’re thinking, kind friend!
      ~ Debbie

  5. Reblogged this on Wondering Preacher and commented:
    This is a deeply moving piece that just absolutely had to be shared. Do pop over and visit Debbie’s blog. Each post is Two Minutes of Grace, and well worth the ten minutes you’ll want to take pondering over her words.

  6. Wow, Debbie. This is an amazingly moving piece of writing. You are right of course, grace will mark you, break you. Jesus went to the cross, and that really was our place to be. We belong there, and if we don’t get that we don’t get anything. But what struck me was your saying how you (and I) have tried to avoid being broken. We want to serve the soup, not receive it. Dear Lord, help us to know our place and find you there.
    I shall reblog this if that’s OK.

    1. Wow, these are some responses!!! We all need a lot of grace. I find it REALLY drastic to say that we belong nailed to a cross! Holy crap! I’m sorry, but that just scares me. I guess i don’t get anything. Hopefully grace though.

      1. Hi iamnotshe, this is Debbie’s blog, so I don’t want to get my own conversation going, but if I may respond: if we believe anything about Jesus it’s that he died in our place. In this context, what I think that means is that I might be tempted to look down on others whose sins are public and known. But the way God sees it, we’re all the same: deserving of death but loved in grace.

        As to your earlier comment, I don’t think grace means we have to suck up and ignore the pain. The Psalmist knew how to howl out his pain to God. We are messengers of grace, not perfection. As someone put it, I’m just a beggar telling other beggars where to find bread (or in this case, the soup line). And you have an incredible story to tell.

      2. Hi Ian Webster 🙂 I loved your response to my freaky reply! I am so glad that you were not offended. I’m on my journey finally …. i guess from birth the journey begins, no? The difference is, i’m present now. I’m learning to reacquaint myself with my religious beliefs. I know there is a higher power: I simply get stumped on the whole package. The Bible, all the varied interpretations, who’s an outcast, who’s a bigger outcast … aren’t we all outcasts? God wouldn’t see one person as a more substantive person over another would he? I dunno. I also noticed that you wrote something at iamnotshe which i haven’t had a chance to respond to. Quite nice stuff. Who else would i meet at Debbie’s place!?

      3. Dearest Mel and Ian –
        This whole exchange is perfect without anything added from me.
        Wonderful!
        Love and grace to you both!
        ~ Debbie

  7. Morning
    So true – I’ve spent more time trying to be Martha than being Mary and just spending time with the Lord – His grace is such an indescribable gift – He loves me, convicts me and then lifts me back up
    How blessed
    susie

  8. I’ve hung with the outcasts and learned: Sometimes even they cast you out. Then you go where Jesus went, Gethsemane, the Wine Press, to have the very life pressed out of you like drops of blood. Then you die. Then anyone who cares for you, beleives you, also dies. That’s where it is.

    1. Katharine –
      I think going where Jesus went means becoming an outcast. 😀
      To quote Ian (a few comments down the page):
      “if we believe anything about Jesus it’s that he died in our place. In this context, what I think that means is that I might be tempted to look down on others whose sins are public and known. But the way God sees it, we’re all the same: deserving of death but loved in grace.”
      ~ Debbie

      1. Whew. I forgot all about writing this. And now I get to show if I meant it or not.
        You know, I never want to cast anyone out, but outcasts exist. And it makes them feel better to find someone they can cast out. And if we walk with Jesus, we will be in that group of those outcasts’ outcasts, that make the outcasts feel better to cast us out. It happens too often to be coincidence. But it has to be okay with me to be there. We have to let it be okay to be treated as Jesus was. I may sound a bit adamant, here, but I’m in that group, today, and must set my face like a flint. Must come out on the other side, refined.
        And will.

  9. “I’m not going to kid you, grace will mark you, break you. You’ll never look perfect again. Not to yourself and not to others. You’ll mend but the cracks will always show.”

    Brilliant!

    When God pours grace over me, I am able to see, without denial, all the spots that need his tending, his healing. It is His grace that allows me the bravery and honesty to see my brokenness. Without that I would always refuse Him and just pretend, just be a performer, a shallow piece of work looking brand new and perfect; with it, I can uncover the wounds for His examination and tender mercies. When I allow my brokenness to be seen, then He can cover it with the Grace of healing. Healing, not hiding. That’s our passionate quest when we seek His grace.

    1. Heidi –
      So spot on!
      Remember when the kids were little and we would buy those hollow chocolate Easter bunnies (OK, I bought them)?
      Anyway, hollow is fine for a while. It’s all they could stomach.
      But then, the day came when it was time to buy the bunnies that were solid chocolate through and through.
      I don’t want to be hollow (shallow) and shiny on the outside.

      I love the way you say it:
      “When I allow my brokenness to be seen, then He can cover it with the Grace of healing. Healing, not hiding. That’s our passionate quest when we seek His grace.”
      Yes! He covers my brokenness with His grace – healing not hiding is a quest that can’t be undertaken without passion.
      Thank you for your wise words,
      ~ Debbie

  10. I’ll do it!!! I want to truly get it. I know you get it. If you say Yes, I am an outcast, does that mean you never talk about struggles? I always felt that by accepting God and grace that meant suck it up, no more bad moods, no more mistakes. You are now the messenger of my grace. In that way, I will never measure up.

    1. Oh Mel –
      I haven’t had much internet so I’m glad to see Ian already responded to this.
      Sweetie, the whole point of saying I’m an outcast is admitting that I fall, that I’m broken, patched together by grace.
      Since none of us, not one of us, can “measure up”, God, in His grace says: Matthew 11:28-30 (from The Message)

      “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

      That’s it my friend. We try to make it so much more, but that’s it. 😀
      much love and grace to you,
      ~ Debbie

  11. Beautiful! It certainly took me hanging with the outcasts to discover I fit right in. I also discovered grace over flowing. Your words ring true in my life. Thank God he’s placed us among his kind.

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