"All Sheep Matter!"

Mark Virkler's picture

by Patti Virkler

I confess that I am one of those people who have been offended and put off by the expression “black lives matter.” Not because I disagreed with it in any way, but because to me, it was a statement of the obvious. Of course black lives matter; all lives matter. Jesus died for all mankind. In Him, there is no Jew or Greek nor male or female nor black or white. We are all one in the family of God. It seemed to me that to emphasize the value of one group stirs up negative feelings and brings needless division. I felt like that would be more racist than anything else I have ever said or done.

Then I was reminded of Luke 15.

We all love the story of how the shepherd left the 99 and went looking for the one sheep that was lost. We are touched by the picture of Jesus carrying the wounded lamb back to the fold. It makes us feel good that, when we were that lost sheep, Jesus made it a point to come and take care of us. But have we ever stopped to think about the 99?

When the shepherd told them, “Joe is missing. I need to go out and look for him,” if the 99 were anything like me, they didn’t take the announcement well.

“What?! What about us? Why should he get all your attention? He isn’t the only one that’s important. Our lives matter too!”

But the shepherd said, “I am leaving you in an open pasture. You are safe. But right now Joe is alone, afraid and in danger. I need to focus on him right now until he is as safe as the rest of you.”

Today the Good Shepherd is reminding me that I am in an open pasture. I am safe. When I drive through an affluent part of town, I’m never followed or stopped by the police. Women don’t unconsciously clutch their purses tighter when my husband walks toward them. When my daughter goes into a high-end store, she is not immediately followed on suspicion that she is a thief. If my son is stopped for a minor traffic violation, I don’t fear he will be subjected to an invasive body search, beaten and arrested for drug possession even when no drugs are found. I live in an open pasture. I am safe.

And yes, my white friends, all of that is the everyday experience of our American, middle-class, educated, law-abiding, Christian brothers and sisters who happen to be black. If you don’t believe me, sit down with some of your black friends and ask them. Then be quiet and listen! Don’t jump in with your “But what about…?” or your story about a criminal who was violent or someone who abused affirmative action or the fact that you personally have never acted in a racist way. Just listen to your brothers and sisters. Hear their stories and their experiences. If they are really your friends, as you claim they are, you will want to know the truth about their lives. And if they are hurting, you will want to help them.

Paul reminded us in I Corinthians 12 that we are Christ’s body and individually members of it. “And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it” (I Cor. 12:26). We as white Christians have not experienced the same things our black members have. But we as the Body of Christ are all suffering because of their suffering. We cannot just ignore their pain and expect the Body to be healthy any more than we could ignore the pain of a broken leg and expect to win a marathon. If we cannot bring healing and reconciliation even within our own Body, why should we expect the world to listen to anything we have to say?

People of color in America today feel alone, afraid and in danger. What is the Shepherd calling us to do? Of course, He loves us all and we all matter to Him. But today, perhaps it is time for the Church to stand up and declare that to God and to us, “black lives matter.”

 

Important clarifications:

  • I am aware that in the parable, the lost sheep represented a sinner and the 99 were the righteous. IN NO WAY am I insinuating that only black people are sinners and white people are righteous. The Lord used the parable to remind me that those who are hurting require and deserve special care, and right now, that is the black population.
  • A strong affirmation that Black Lives Matter does not require, nor should it even imply, any support for the political organization of that name, or any of the specifically unbiblical positions it espouses. But our love and support for our black brothers and sisters, and the explicit confirmation that their lives absolutely have value to us, should always be louder than our denouncements of specific aspects of an agenda which has been attached to #BLM.

 

Credits

Sheep on Jesus' shoulders – source unknown

All Sheep Matter drawing by Jasmine Virkler

Race in America Series

  1. Understanding and Responding to Racial Tension
  2. Should I Just Hunker Down, Pray, and Try to Avoid All the Turmoil Engulfing the USA?
  3. "All Sheep Matter!"
  4. T. D. Jakes Explains Racial Issues in a Way I've Never Heard Them
  5. A Lieutenant Discusses Racial Discrimination Within the NYPD
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Comments

Mark Virkler's picture

YES, unborn Babies lives also matter!!! All lives matter.

Christopher S's picture

when we hear these stories I can only see all these innocent aborted children these are the most important lives that matter that no one is talking about our future 

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4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice

4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice

by Mark and Patti Virkler | 305 Pages

Until August 26th, Get 25% Off:

Or 50% off the School of the Spirit e-learning module!

Have you ever wished you could just sit down and have a long talk with the Lord? Wouldn't it be wonderful to move beyond having a theology that states that God loves you to actually hearing Him whisper words of love into your heart? When you're worried or confused, wouldn't you love to see the situation from His perspective and hear how He wants you to respond?


Price: $$12.95

4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice (hard cover)

by Mark and Patti Virkler | 305 Pages

40% off the suggested retail price!

For the first time EVER! Hardcover copies of 4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice. This is a magnificent, beautiful gift to give for any occasion. Retailing at $24.95, you can purchase it through our website at only $15.00! Bless people with the gift of spiritual intimacy with the Lord Jesus Christ. Get a souvenir copy for yourself. Only 600 copies produced, so order while supplies last!

Price: $$15.00
4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice Audio CD Package

4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice Audio CD Package

By Mark Virkler | 4 Keys book | 10 hours of CDs | LEARN notebook

Until August 26th, Get 25% Off:

Or 50% off the School of the Spirit e-learning module!

Have you ever wished you could just sit down and have a long talk with the Lord? Wouldn't it be wonderful to move beyond having a theology that states that God loves you to actually hearing Him whisper words of love into your heart? When you're worried or confused, wouldn't you love to see the situation from His perspective and hear how He wants you to respond?

Price: $$59.00
4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice DVD Package

4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice DVD Package

By Mark Virkler | 4 Keys book | 10 hours of DVDs | LEARN notebook

Until August 26th, Get 25% Off:

Or 50% off the School of the Spirit e-learning module!

Have you ever wished you could just sit down and have a long talk with the Lord? Wouldn't it be wonderful to move beyond having a theology that states that God loves you to actually hearing Him whisper words of love into your heart? When you're worried or confused, wouldn't you love to see the situation from His perspective and hear how He wants you to respond? When things don't seem to be going your way and your prayers aren't answered the way you had hoped, wouldn't it be great to hear Him tell you where He is in the midst of it, and what He is working out in your life? Are you ever just a little bit jealous of others who say with such confidence, "The Lord said...."?

Price: $$65.00

Dialogue with God

by Mark and Patti Virkler | 296 Pages

This top seller for 30 years from Bridge Logos provides a narrative, right-brain presentation of the principles of how to hear God's voice. Especially enjoyable for personal use, it makes a great gift for introducing a loved one to the voice of God. This book teaches the four keys to hearing God's voice in readable style, and also devotes two entire chapters to moving samples of people's journaling (i.e. their two-way dialogue with God).

Price: $$16.99
Hear God's Voice Guaranteed Package

Hear God's Voice Guaranteed Package

9 Books, 10 CDs, 10 DVDs now at a $30+ savings

Until August 26th, Get 25% Off:

Or 50% off the School of the Spirit e-learning module!

Have you ever wished you could just sit down and have a long talk with the Lord? Wouldn't it be wonderful to move beyond having a theology that states that God loves you to actually hearing Him whisper words of love into your heart? When you're worried or confused, wouldn't you love to see the situation from His perspective and hear how He wants you to respond? When things don't seem to be going your way and your prayers aren't answered the way you had hoped, wouldn't it be great to hear Him tell you where He is in the midst of it, and what He is working out in your life? Are you ever just a little bit jealous of others who say with such confidence, "The Lord said...."?

Price: $$149.00

How to Hear God's Voice

by Mark and Patti Virkler | 317 Pages

We recommend that you order the newest revision of this book titled 4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice. It includes 95% of the content of How to Hear God's Voice but is reorganized so it fits perfectly with the 10 DVDs on this subject by Mark Virkler. In addition, it gets you started using the four keys earlier in the book and gives you more journaling samples and exercises. Since we have removed the large margins, it is a smaller and less expensive book.

Price: $$19.95
LEARN 4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice Notebook

LEARN 4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice

by Mark and Patti Virkler

This 49-page Life Enrichment And Review Notebook (previously called a "Seminar Guide") is designed to go along with the CD/ DVD series and/or PowerPoint presentation. If receiving training in a group, we highly recommend that EVERY member of the group have their own copy. It offers you the following four benefits:

Price: $$4.95
Prayers That Heal the Heart

Prayers That Heal the Heart

by Mark and Patti Virkler | 320 Pages

Prayer counseling that breaks every yoke! Everything you need to experience deep healing of your soul and spirit.

Did you know that you don’t need to be continually plagued by negative thoughts, feelings, pictures or memories?

Price: $$14.99

Counseled by God

by Mark and Patti Virkler | 146 Pages

Have you ever been defeated by negative emotions such as anger, fear, guilt, inferiority, condemnation or depression? Have you tried to fight them off unsuccessfully? Is there an answer that is deeper than simply trying to mentally reason yourself out of these emotions? Is there a way that Jesus can speak a word of life into the depths of your emotional despair and bring healing on a deep level? Is there a form of Christian counseling that begins and ends with the movement of Christ within your heart, rather than simply with the words of man?

Price: $$9.95

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