Lewis is a six months old Barbados Blackbelly sheep on our farm. His mother died when he was born. We bottle-fed Lewis for the first two months of his life. Lewis had a twin brother named Clark, who sadly died unexpectedly at about a month old. Lewis is strong and healthy.
But he has one big problem. He is afraid of other sheep. He identifies with us and chicken better than the herd of sheep. The other sheep look just like him. They are not mean to him. He is fixed so he offers no threat to the ram. But he fears the other sheep. Maybe he thinks the others are judgmental. Maybe he believes the others have their own group and they will not accept him in it. Maybe he doesn’t want the restrictions of being in the herd. They play follow the leader and all act the same, maybe he wants to be different. Maybe he feels like he is not one of them, even though he looks like them. Maybe he just wants to be by himself. But whatever it is, we are sure his identity is confused. He doesn’t have a proper self-identity. He is a sheep without a herd.
Do you know any human sheep who act the same way toward the church? They are fearful of the church. They believe they will be judged. They are rebellious of being in the herd and going along with what the church is doing. They love their independence and just as soon be alone making their own decisions.
What Lewis doesn’t realize is that he is made to be a sheep! He may have a messed up personal identity, but he was created to be a sheep. He can only truly fulfill his purpose and place in this world by being a sheep in the herd. He is missing out on the love, protection, and companionship of other sheep. He is open to prey, lacks community, and has constant anxiety because he refuses to try the herd.
I beg all of of the lost sheep out there who refuse to seek their identity in the church to quit being afraid of Christians. Realize you were created by God to be a part of the church. The church isn’t perfect, but it is God’s herd on earth created for our protection, love, and companionship.