What do people think of you? That’s a hard question to answer. Different people know us in different ways. Some know us from the past, and continue to view us in light of what we used to do or how we used to act. Some know us today by the masks we wear to cover up the real us. Family knows history. Close friends know intimate details. And colleagues base their opinion of us on our work performance.
What happens when people view us in a particular way because they don’t know who we really are?
Yesterday we talked about shepherds and their sheep. Today I want us to zero in on one particular kind of sheep–the black sheep. We joke about there being one person in each family that’s the “black sheep” of the group. The one that doesn’t quite fit in. The one that does things their own way. The one that rebels and goes off into the wilderness in search of something better. We’ll call her Rebel. I have a soft spot in my heart for Rebel, the black sheep. Because that’s who I used to be. And that’s who many of us still feel like.
Not all of us chose to be Rebel. It just happened. Others started calling us that. They saw us as Rebel because we weren’t like them. We made some bad choices and they slapped a label on. And as the flock shied away from us because of our label, we went into survival mode. If we were going to be known as Rebel, then we’d give them what they wanted. So we grew into our thick black wool.
It was fun at first. Living on the edge. Carefree and reckless. A little danger in the mix.
But as time wore on, the luster wore off.
It’s draining being Rebel. Nothing comes easy for very long. Everything has a price. Wolves are constantly on the prowl around us. And it’s lonely in the wilderness. Sometimes we curl up and long for a flock and shepherd. We continue in survival mode, but our hope for the safety of lush green pastures fades away. And the other black sheep we encounter are in it for themselves.
This isn’t where we thought we’d be. Our life says we’re Rebel, the black sheep. Yes, it started by us getting into character. But now that character has taken over and we don’t know how to get out. This isn’t who we really are.
Deep down, we’re just like all the other sheep. We want to laugh and love. We want to belong to a flock. Any flock. We get hurt and long for someone to help us. We’re weary. We feel empty.
But there’s good news. We do have a Shepherd, and He’s calling us. He has come to rescue us. No matter where we’ve been. No matter how long we’ve been lost. There’s no condemnation. Only rejoicing as we run into His arms.
Our Shepherd is Jesus. He’s here. Don’t be afraid. He loves you and He’s ready to carry you home.
“‘Suppose one of you had a hundred sheep and lost one. Wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost one until you found it? When found, you can be sure you would put it across your shoulders, rejoicing, and when you got home call in your friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Celebrate with me! I’ve found my lost sheep!’ Count on it–there’s more joy in heaven over one sinner’s rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue.’” Luke 15:4-7 (MSG)
May I pray?
Lord, we want to come home. But some of us don’t know where home is. We’re lost. We’ve been running for so long. We’re tired and scared and alone. Jesus, You say that if we come near to You, You will come near to us. We’re taking that first step now by praying to You. Please rescue us. May we feel Your presence today like never before. Amen.
Q4U: What is something that people have labeled you that isn’t a true reflection of who you really are?