An Open Letter to all lost lambs and sheep who have wandered away from my flock
The above CC0 image comes courtesy of Pixabay.com
Where are you my beloved?
I wonder if you know how much I hurt since the day you wandered away from the safety of my care. Yes, I realise you have done so because you feel hurt… because you’ve been offended… because (and my heart pains me to know this), you’ve been emotionally abused, or blatantly ignored, or marginalised, or cruelly rejected. You’ve had enough.
You have wandered away from the safety of my flock because certain shepherds, or certain church members have disappointed you, failed to live up to your new found expectations of an accepting, loving and united family of God.
And so you withdrew. You’ve withdrawn your heart, your trust and your allegiance to “the church”. You say: I want nothing more to do with those bunch of hypocrites! And believe me, I understand how you feel.
Yes, you still want to be a child of God, a disciple of Christ, but you’ve decided to do so your own way. You’ve decided to do so on your own terms. So you stay away from the religious circus and you erect your walls and barriers.
And even though outwardly there is bravado (I don’t need them), inwardly there is a gnawing resentment, and a deep untended wound because something, or someone you’d placed your trust in, let you down.
You were excited at first. After all, what could be more perfect than joining a loving community of people with good morals and virtuous spirituality? What could be more desirable than mixing with a group of friends who’d always have your back? What a breath of fresh air to be able to be yourself… to be able to confide your concerns or doubts or struggles. What a pleasure it was going to be, to mix with others who are on the same spiritual wavelength and committed to the same standards of Christ’s love. What could be more perfect?
But then the glitz rubbed off to reveal people who appear to be no better than your unsaved next door neighbours, or the ungodly colleagues at your workplace, or the unbelieving members of your family.
You had not expected to be the subject of gossip-mongers or to be propositioned by a church leader. You did not approve of “super-star” shepherds who seek celebrity status, rather than model servant-leadership. You certainly hadn’t expected there to be cliques within God’s kingdom, or worse still, to find yourself excluded. You thought you’d left that kind of thing behind when you separated yourself from the world.
You hungered to experience the supernatural power and presence of God but the most you received were invites to a happy-clappy spiritual bubble, which often burst once you left the vicinity of the church premises and left you feeling unequipped to face life’s challenges.
I understand your disillusionment.
But dear sweet child of God, I want you to know there will always be tares amongst the wheat. There will always be the imposter –v- the genuine. And there will always be the fully sold-out and on-fire believer –v- the lukewarm bench-warmer, with those who sit comfortably in between.
My dear disillusioned one, there will always be a mixture of wolves, goats, lambs and sheep amongst the members of my church. There will be those amongst my flock who get it wrong, yet are bona fide believers. They make mistakes. They are ever learning and growing. And as they learn and grow they are being transformed into my true image – not the synthetic portrait to which you were introduced when you first made my acquaintance.
My precious child, as they learn and grow, they will become that loving, holy community you so desire to be a part of and for which you had originally signed up. But my dear precious one, it takes time. It takes time to mature, just like cheese. Just like wine. And it will take every child of God (including you) to assume their rightful place in the body of Christ. It will require every child of God (including you) to submit to the process of being rubbed against one another… to be chafed and challenged… to do and die.
So I need you to come back, dear one. I want you back in the safety of my fold. I want you joined to a community of admittedly imperfect people, so that I may mature and perfect you and perfect others alongside you.
Because making that choice to come away, to segregate yourself from my family, is making a choice to place your opinions, your disgust and disappointments, your hurts and anger above my will, above my plan and purpose for your life. And whilst you stay away, that serpent (my arch-enemy), feels he has carte blanche to sift and sully you, to poison your thoughts against my people and even at times against me, to alienate and entrench you within your disappointment, hurts and resentment. Whilst you stay away dear precious one, you play into my enemy’s hands and you render yourself an orphan, you make yourself so vulnerable.
Beloved child, will you please come home? Will you return to my sheepfold? Will you let me restore and settle you into my family? Will you allow me to love you, comfort you, hold and heal you?
I do hope you will.
With my utmost, unconditional love,
Sent on behalf of Jesus (The Good Shepherd and Overseer of your Soul)
What’s your response to this post? Are you one of Christ’s lost lambs or sheep? Please share your thoughts in a comment box below. And if you know anyone to whom this message applies, then please don’t hesitate to share it. Thank you.