The Beaten Sheep
Posted on March 12, 2020 by Catey Stover in Freedom Fighters
“How can your empty clichés comfort me? All your explanations are lies!” Job 21:34 (NLT)
I’m not too sure if the hardships of life were easier to take before I came to Christ. I usually stayed in a constant state of euphoria because of an addicted lifestyle. But when the lifestyle had to change, the hardships decided to stick around. Now I try to be content in understanding that sometimes faith is to be tested but I still fall into this, “I had to do something wrong…again” syndrome. And I know I’m not alone in this either.
Earlier this month, a young man who I’ve been sorta mentoring called me up with a tale of woe. He really needed to be encouraged, and although I know a lot of Bible verses to encourage, this young man, at times, can consider it all cliché. Until he said, “That’s what I get for having any faith in people.” It opened the door wide enough for me to say, “It is better to take refuge in the Lord, than to trust in people.” (Psalm 118:8) and then remind him that God put this dead smack in the center of His word for a reason. It might have been cliché but God’s Word NEVER returns void. Anyway…
Not everything that goes wrong in our lives is the result of sin. You’re entitled to disagree with me, but I’m standing firm on this one. A Christian can have a solid prayer life, have their nose in God’s Word every day, can serve the church with a cheerful heart, give generously outta their own resource and still be faced with calamity. You can just ask Job. God boasted in this man, “For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil” (Job 1:8b), but that didn’t stop God from allowing Job to be tested. What it did open up was how Job’s friends went immediately into default mode. “Ya had to do something wrong Job” said Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar.
And it’s not limited to Job. In John 9 Jesus and His disciple pass by a man who was blinded since birth, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?” Without missing a beat Jesus replies, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents” and then He’ll tell the true reason, “but it was in order that the works of God might be displayed in him.” Now you can read the rest of the chapter and see just what Jesus was up to but the bottom line to both Biblical stories leads me to this conclusion…some folks are just plain harsh and they choose to beat the sheep. Sad, but true.
I spend my Friday nights with folks in a “for-profit” rehab. Their lives have been devasted by a lifestyle of addiction and in a lot of the conversations that I’ve been a part of there was one thing that stood out. When they sought out help in their local churches, they were met with a barrage of questions concerning where their faith was. Now it is up to all of us, as Christians, to point them in the direction of the Cross of Christ but we need to be discerning as we do it. To tell these folks that they need to get saved, get into God’s Word immediately and get themselves into church is great advice but if it’s done as a whippin’ we scare them off and leave them to question where in the world did we get our faith from.
If we can take what we read in 1 John 4:17 seriously, “And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face Him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world” then we can convey that balanced love of Jesus to those around us. The man at the pool in Bethesda (John 5) was asked of Jesus, “Do you wish to made well?” His response to Jesus wasn’t “Yes” but instead pointed to his circumstance. Jesus healed him anyway, and when He saw the man again in the Temple Jesus issued this warning, “See, you have been well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.” (John 5:14b)
The world around us is getting tougher to handle and really needs the kinda balanced encouragement that Jesus Christ provides. Don’t misunderstand me either in this, we need to call sin, sin but if you’re taking the shepherds staff that you’ve been given and thrashing the sheep with it, in order to keep things in line to what you feel is of God…maybe ya need to examine yourself. The last thing any of us would wanna hear is, “Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge?” (Job 38:2) Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris, a graduate of The Colony of Mercy (11-2003) has been married for 25+ years (Kathy), has a married son (Kevin) and a daughter in college (Karen). He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008. firstname.lastname@example.org
Think About This: “When God is represented as disciplining or punishing someone for sin, when indeed He isn’t, it is a serious accusation against His character.” — John Bevere
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: 4 Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths. 5 Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day. –Psalm 25:4-5
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the doctrinal and theological views held by America’s Keswick.