Black Sheep


Does anyone know what it’s like to never really fit in? I’m not sure I ever have fit in anywhere. Not that it’s a bad thing. Being different is fine with me. But I know a lot of people who can fit into every situation, even if it’s something they’ve never dealt with before. I’m not that way. I usually end up standing out (granted, that’s mostly because of my own choices in clothing and style and whatever).

One place, however, I have never doubted that I belonged is my family. We are all pretty much alike, no matter how you slice it. Of course, we’re all really odd so that probably plays a major role in making me feel like I fit in.

I’m very thankful for my family. I also know quite a few people who don’t fit in with their families, and I’m not certain how I would cope with that. If I didn’t have my family, I’m not sure what I would do. I mean, obviously, I would be okay because God has a plan but still — that would be very difficult for me.

Why do families do things like that to each other? Families are supposed to love each other no matter what, not cast members out because they have made choices that don’t fit the mold. That’s what I thought about this morning when I read the verse for the day:

Galatians 3:26-28

 26 For you are all children[a] of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes.[b] 28 There is no longer Jew or Gentile,[c] slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.

As believers in Christ, we are family. At least, we should be. If nothing else, we have one thing in common, our mutual acknowledgement of Christ in our lives. But more often than not, we fight among each other and treat each other terribly.

Some of the cruelest people I’ve met are Christians. And, yes, they can be cruel to nonbelievers, but most of the time they’re too busy ripping other Christians to pieces. Why is that? How is that okay? We’re family. We’re supposed to be united, standing together instead of falling apart.

Who cares if that Christian listens to hymns? Who cares if this one only likes David Crowder Band or Caedmon’s Call? Who cares if another Christian only likes acid rock and punk metal and dresses in black leather and chains? Who cares if a Christian prefers traditional clothing? Or blue jeans? Or simple dress and a head covering? If they believe in Christ as the only way to reach heaven, they are family — our brothers, our sisters — and we should work together for the common goal that Christ left us here for, reaching others for Him.

It makes me think of another verse. I can’t give you the reference. I’m terrible with references. But I believe it’s in one of the Synoptic Gospels. The disciples are telling Jesus about some other people who’ve come along preaching in His name, and they’re all upset about it. I guess the disciples thought they had the only Jesus club in town. They wanted Jesus to put a stop to it and Jesus refused. His answer was something like, “If they are not against us, they’re for us.”

Hey, you Christians out there! You people who trust in Christ? It doesn’t matter what your denomination is. And it doesn’t matter what you look like or how you dress or how educated you are. If you believe in Christ, you belong to Him and you are part of real family. And in this family there aren’t any black sheep and everyone fits in because nobody is perfect. The sooner the rest of us realize that, the better.

So stop criticizing each other. It doesn’t do you any good. It certainly doesn’t help the world see that our faith is worth anything. And half the time the person you’re criticizing is doing more to reach other people than you are.

If they aren’t hurting the cause, why criticize? Why try to stop them? Maybe the person upsetting the apple cart is you.

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