Free the Black Sheep

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?"

~Isaiah 43:18-19

Is there a black sheep in your family? What did they do to earn that role? Much of it may be their own doing, but are we helping keep the adhesive strong on that label, making it nearly impossible for them to reinvent themselves in any meaningful way.

Have you ever thought about who your black sheep is with their friends? There is a saying that "friends are the family we pick for ourselves." Could we be driving our own family members to create a new family from chosen friends, so that they can be free from the labels we keep on them?

What if you let this broken person walk in the door this Christmas and saw them through fresh eyes? Eyes of love and compassion that are expectant of something good, looking for it. Don't we all want to walk in a room and have the people who are to love us say, "It's you!" If I label someone as the drama queen or the difficult one, I can easily find evidence to support that belief. If we collectively assign that label to someone in our family, not only do we gang up on them in judgement, but they will most likely act to support that label--even if they despise it.

I am so guilty of this with my sweet son, Trey. I have labeled him dramatic, the difficult one, a yeller. He may have earned some of this reputation by his outbursts, but why can't I simply think of him as the snuggler, the defender of his sister, my precious son? It's time to take the negative labels off of Trey, before he internalizes them and spends the next 70 years under the weight of being someone so much less than God intended.

Have a black sheep in your family? Free them from your judgment and labels this year and give them a safe place to be much more than you have given them credit for. And, if you are the black sheep, stop it. You have a resposibility in the family, too. Be more, be free.