Will the Father ever shun His children?
O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help. – Psalms 86:5
18 Where is another God like you, who pardons the guilt of the remnant, overlooking the sins of his special people? You will not stay angry with your people forever, because you delight in showing unfailing love.
19 Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean!
20 You will show us your faithfulness and unfailing love as you promised . . .
Shunning is an act of social rejection, or emotional distance. All social interaction with a shunned individual is cut off. Shunning is not the same as banishment. Banishment or exile is physical isolation or separation. Shunning is social isolation. Shunning is the consequence of violating accepted rules and standards
The historically the Amish employ shunning for the most serious and egregious offenses. These include marrying a non-Amish person, adultery, excessive contact with the outside world, and drunkenness.
Will the Father ever shun His children? Can a sheep of the Father’s flock exhaust his patience? Absolutely not! The heart of the Father is infinitely filled with mercy, patience, and kindness! His lovingkindness and grace overflow and burst forth in response to sin.
Romans 5:20 as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant.
How many times have you thought to yourself that you are the worst sinner that ever lived? Well you are not! That position has already been filled! The worst person that ever lived was the apostle Paul. I know that sounds outrageous. But Paul is the one that said it about himself. His words were enthused by the Father, ours are informed by our guilt and discouragement
1 Timothy 1:15 “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” – and I am the worst of them all.
Further, Paul unequivocally explains that if anyone could have exhausted the Father’s patience and deserved to be dissociated from the Father it was Paul himself
1 Timothy 1:14-16
14 The grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.
16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.
REFLECT & PRAY
Isaiah 53:6 All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Father thank You that You are infinitely patient and forgiving. Your response to my sin, defiance, and rebellion is always loving restoration.
Have you ever wondered why sheep were created? The Father intended them to serve as object lessons, living letters. Sheep are among the most helpless and needy of all creatures. They easily get lost and fall victim to predators. They have difficulty finding water and food. They desperately need a shepherd.
The Father created sheep as the perfect example of people. We are constantly going astray. Repeatedly making dumb decisions. Without the love and care truly excellent and caring shepherd we would be doomed.
The Father provided the perfect answer.
John 10:11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.
4 What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?
5 When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’
The Lord is neither cold-hearted nor matter of fact about finding His lost sheep and bringing them home. He takes great joy and feels great excitement in re-establishing a close bond with His wandering creations (Stanley).
What is the Father like? What kind of a person is He? He shows us time and time again the essence of His heart in words, deeds, and examples throughout the Scriptures. Knowing and understanding His character offers great solace to ornery, troubled sheep. He is not an angry old man out to get us. Rather, He is a gracious loving shepherd seeking out, rounding up, and restoring each of His wayward sheep. He is the ultimate shepherd. He wants only the best for each of those who belong to Him.