Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Black Sheep of the Family (10/03/13)
TITLE: We All Have One
By Larry Whittington
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We have a problem. You and I. Those in your church and those in my church, we all have a problem. We encourage it. We foster it. We relish its existence. What is it?
It is the Black Sheep syndrome.
You or I could pretend we don’t know what it is or that we don’t know anything about it, but stay with me and we will.
The premise I begin with is that “God knows all”.
God knows all things good and all things bad about all.
So now let’s get to the Black Sheep Syndrome. The Black Sheep Syndrome begins when we hear of someone in some family, maybe even our own, who has been going in the wrong direction. We hear that he or she is not living a life style that we would accept as good. All we have heard is that he or she is the black sheep of the family.
This is all it takes for the Black Sheep Syndrome to start. Once we hear this it can start to grow and blossom. This takes place when we forget the premise I began with and that is that “God knows all”.
It begins to grow when we “innocently” asks for details of the situation. It continues to grow as we say to our friends and members at church, “Did you hear that “(put their name here)” is the black sheep of “this” family?”
“What have you heard about “him/her”?
“When did this all take place?”
“Isn't that just terrible?”
“I could have told you it was coming to that. You remember what his “father, grandmother, aunt,” (you name them) was like and what he/she did.”
“If he/she did that, you know what he/she will do next, don’t you?”
“Listen, I am just getting ready to go to prayer meeting. Can any of you tell me any more details than this? I want to announce it at the prayer meeting so everyone can pray about it intelligently.”
And the Black Sheep Syndrome has blossomed.
Let’s all go back to my premise that God knows all both good and bad about all.
If God knows all about all, do I need any information about the situation to tell him that he doesn't already know.
I hope you will agree with me and say, “NO”.
No, God does not need to be told anything about what anyone may be doing or has been doing or even is thinking of doing.
For the sake of length, I am going to assume this “Black Sheep” is not a Christian yet but because of your concern you are going to pray that at some time he/she will want to turn and become a Christian.
If this is the purpose of your prayer, you need to think of the story/parable sometimes called the parable of the prodigal son and offer a similar prayer for his/her life. God knows where he/she already is so our prayer should be for God to let him/her sink to the bottom: feeding swine and hungry enough that the pig food looks real good. If a person is going to change, this is where he/she may need to be before a change is made. If a person chooses not to change, he/she has freely made the choice. We have to leave him/her in God’s hand but we can continue to pray.
Now to keep us all on the same page let me ask a question.
“Who will love the Lord the most, the one who was forgiven a little or the one who is forgiven the most.
I hope your answer was, “the one who was forgiven the most”. The prodigal will love the father more than the one who had little to forgive. We are the same. The Black Sheep who turns from his ways, repents and is baptized for the forgiveness of his sins will love God more than we who had fewer sins to be forgiven of. Read Luke 7:36-50.
We show we are like the Pharisee who loves little when we participate in and promote the Black Sheep Syndrome by gossiping.
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