Sunday, January 11, 2009

Aren't we all like sheep?

I was thinking about God's love today....how it's so perfect....and how [imperfect] parents are required to teach their children about His perfect love. Most days... if my children don't quickly do what they're told, or finish their school work without complaint, I begin to feel my blood pressure rise. I don't enjoy being ignored by my children, so I find that my tolerance level drops, my voice rises an octave , my eyes snap, and my teeth grind. It usually takes all my will power to stay calm and to whisper through clenched teeth, "OK children....it's time to finish what I told you to do; make it snappy!" Yes, I love my children... but am I displaying God's perfect love? Not exactly. I want things to go MY way (children are supposed to obey their parents, right?), and when our day is obviously not on the right track, I get upset and a bit loud. I've known for some time that I'm an imperfect parent (ever since bringing our first child home from the hospital), so how do I teach them God's perfect love? In the Bible, humans are compared to sheep. I didn't totally understand the comparison until my husband explained to me how dumb sheep are. Richard grew up on a farm, and at one point his family had sheep. He never liked them all that well, because he says they were "so stupid". When something would scare the sheep, they would run around frantically, bumping into things, not using their brains. I looked "sheep" up on the Internet, and found that they appear to be so stupid because they have no independence and are wired to follow a leader (even if it's not a good leader). If one sheep were to jump over a cliff, the others would follow! Sheep are very social animals, and need to be with at least 4 or 5 other sheep to be "happy". Sheep remember faces for many years...and as we have heard [even those of us who aren't farmers]...they come running when their shepherd calls for them. Another interesting fact, is that sheep do not handle facing adversary alone well. If attacked while grazing alone, a sheep's nature is to flee [at all costs], running for safety. Their only protection is to stay in the flock and to follow the sheep in front of them. Predators usually only go after the sheep who are separated from the flock. I also understand that farmers use sheep dogs to intimidate sheep to walk in formations, and go where the farmer wants them to go.
After thinking about God's love ...and reading about sheep...I decided I don't want to be a 'sheep dog parent'. I want to be a 'shepherd parent'. Instead of baring my teeth, and snapping out orders to my children [to gain an appearance of order], I desire to be like a shepherd. I want my children to follow when they hear my voice, and most importantly, if they learn to follow my voice , it will teach them to follow the Great Shepherd's voice. As mentioned earlier, parents are as imperfect as their own children....so how are they [as sheep] supposed to lead their children well if they aren't following the Great Shepherd? My prayer is that I will hear the Great Shepherd's voice, and always follow Him. It's OK when I fail and apologize to my children, because they know that we are both human and that we both need the constant guidance of The Shepherd. We are in this flock together, and one "sheep" is not more important than another. Through this daily living within the flock, my children will [Lord willing] learn what God's love is. My love isn't perfect, but I need to be constantly leading my children towards the One Who's Love is perfect. So....it's basically not about me . :) :) : ) It's about shepherding.




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