He’d come to them, had the child, later on in their lives. Had come all unplanned, unexpected. How he’d blessed them, the five, with his sweet, winning ways; loving nature; and bent toward obedience.
Still, the blue-eyed lamb was a sinner, tempted toward wrong, and there were days that he surrendered, gave in. Like Sunday last between services at church.
I’d picked him up from his Sunday School class, happy to hear he’d encourage a friend, had turned a frown into a smile (yup, bringing sunshine). Trotting on to service, he put it to me. “May I get a snack?”
“Not this time,” I said, thinking of the evening’s plans. “You’ll have plenty of treats later on.”
Which is when temptation struck, and he said the ‘yes.’ For Daddy came in Mama’s brief absence, and Daddy, not knowing of Mama’s ‘no,’ said, ‘yes.’ And there he went, and then here he came. With two chocolate donut holes.
I looked at my sinner, the littlest in our flock, and I opened my mouth, began teaching. “That wasn’t very honest of you. You asked Daddy after I told you no.” Face fell, countenance stricken just over his donuts. “I’ll have to ask Daddy what your consequence should be, but I think you’ll have to choose. Either no dessert after lunch, or no dessert after dinner.”
“I’m sorry,” he said, meek, broken. Blue eyes filled with tears, and one paw swipe-swipe-swiped at wet eyes. He plopped down, hand still brushing ‘cross eyes, and said this with emotion: “I feel like such a jerk.”
So once more, I instructed. “But you said you’re sorry, and I will forgive you. You’ll have consequences, but I do forgive.” And then, knowing the sting, the feel of the ‘jerk,’ this one big and life-changing truth: “Just because you do a ‘jerky’ thing doesn’t mean that you’re a jerk.”
I thought, then, of you. I thought of me, too, and how we feel when we’ve done ‘jerky’ things. The devil’s a liar, and he’s horribly unfair. He’s mean and he’s hateful and rude. He tempts us to sin (“two donut holes won’t hurt”), then he bludgeons us bloody with the ‘yes.’
So we come back to truth. Always, always to truth to pull us up out of the pit. And truth’s this:
Having disappointed doesn’t make you a disappointment. Having failed doesn’t mean you’re a failure. Having done a ‘jerky’ thing doesn’t mean you’re a jerk. It just means that you’re needing a Shepherd.
Whether you’re Little or big, you’re a sheep. With a Shepherd. And sheep, well, sometimes they stray. They’ll wander away just a bit from the flock. And that’s where the Shepherd comes in.
Just come back, little sheep. Come back and repent, then the Shepherd will wash your scrapes clean. Don’t listen to the voice hissing lies, accusations. For the Shepherd, like mamas, forgives.
Warmly today from my heart to yours,