Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Black Sheep

My father is from a family of 10 children and the son of a doctor. As he was raising us, he often referred to himself as the black sheep of the family. His brothers were very focused and accomplished a great deal. His sisters all stayed married and, just like his brothers, raised some incredible children.

When it was time to prepare for my father's funeral, my brother wanted to place a black sheep with my father's remains. My brother called all of us children the black sheep squadron because of the difficulties we were facing. For privacy reasons and to protect my siblings, our past will not be discussed unless permission is given. It is safe to say that our entire family behaved like lost sheep and at least one or two of us definitely felt like black sheep.

In ancient times, if you were blind or had any ailments, religious leaders blamed your parents or ancestors for your problems. Although the consequences of original sin affect every one of us, it is not the sins of our parents that cause blindness. Sometimes, we have problems in our lives so that God can reveal Himself to us and to the world when we turn to Him.

It comforts me greatly to know how much Jesus loves the black sheep. He was criticized for choosing so many "low lifes" to associate with. Zebedee, the father of James and John, must have been having a melt-down as he watched his two boys abandon the fishing business, turn away from the family and follow Jesus. Zebedee was a powerful leader amongst the Jews and it made him look bad when he lost control of his sons.

When Jesus knelt down to wash the feet of His followers, the group included a bunch of misfits. When He was dying on the Cross, he had a black sheep on each side of Him. Both men knew they were black sheep but one was sorry for all he had done wrong and asked Jesus to forgive him. Jesus promised the man that he would be in Heaven with Him by the end of the day.

The Kingdom of Heaven is full of black sheep, people who turned to Jesus and asked forgiveness. Jesus washed away all the blackness and they are with Him now for all of eternity.

If you are feeling like a black sheep, know that there is a Shepherd who is calling your name right now. He has already died for you so that you can become bright. My father in Heaven is no longer a black sheep. He asked his family to forgive him for any past hurts and he taught all of us that Jesus loves his sheep no matter how lost we are.

Let Jesus wash your feet today. He is ready to clean you up; all you have to do is listen to His voice and follow Him.

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