Skip to main content

Loving (all) those who go astray

   “What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray.” (Matthew 18:12–13, ESV)

How's your heart toward those who have gone astray?

Interestingly (and I think importantly), this passage comes right before Jesus' teaching on what we'd call church discipline. I would describe church discipline as the process whereby Christians seek to restore a sinning brother or sister (c.f. verse 15 "If he listens to you, you have gained your brother").

I think church discipline can be mistaken for the process where by Christians gradually write off "sinners" and dissolve their affections and engagement with the individual as time passes.

Jesus' teaching doesn't allow us to do anything of the sort. Our Savior seeks out and rejoices over sheep that go astray. Their distance almost seems to intensify his affection for them (e.g. Matt 23:37). He longs to see them reconciled.

If you are in a biblical church, you likely know someone under church discipline. They may be growing, they may be languishing. Either way, may our hearts long for the restoration of Christ's sheep. Through love, prayer and persistence may we seek these sheep. May our hearts ache like our Savior's!

And when Christ brings his sheep back (and he will), may we rejoice in the work of our good shepherd and embrace the sheep he has restored.


Popular posts from this blog

The New Trilemma

Beknownst to many, I dread the idea of going to a karaoke bar. Unbeknownst to many, I have regular covert karaoke sessions on my commute to work. I drive an SUV with no tint on the windows, which means I'm afforded about as much cover as a fishbowl. Moreover, I possess none of the externally obvious signs that would indicate that I deserve to be rocking out like it's nobody's business (e.g. I don't care what you think musician outfit, “cool” ethnicity, etc.). Therefore I must daily find a way to perform my latest hits without the hundreds of people I see in traffic noticing. So I improvise. At the stop light, if I pull up in between the two cars in the next lane over, neither of them can really tell what I'm doing. Rock on my friend. If I can't hit one of those sweet spots between cars, I might just do every other line ...wishin they was dancin a jig... ciga-cigar right from Cuba-Cu-ba ... They might think they saw something, do a double take, but loo