You’ve strayed from Jesus. Now what?
Are you hesitating to turn to Him because you’re not sure how (or if) He will receive you? Maybe you think He’ll be disappointed, stern, angry. Maybe you think that He won’t even want you back.
Don’t believe it.
Jesus once told a story about a shepherd who had 100 sheep, but one wandered away. And so, the shepherd started to look for it. Lessons abound in that little bit of the story, but it’s the shepherd’s response that is striking.
“When he has found (the sheep), he joyfully puts it on his shoulders…”
Joyfully. That’s the word you should focus on. That’s the shepherd’s response to finding his lost sheep.
And as if to make sure we don’t miss it, the shepherd gets home with the lost sheep and then tells everyone else, “Rejoice (or: ‘be joyful’) with me.”
Then, Jesus brings it out of the theoretical into real life: “There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who don’t need repentance.”
Joy. Three times in this parable, Jesus mentions that his heart toward wanderers who return is joy.
Not grudging acceptance. Not regret. Not anger. Not “I told you so.” Not “It’s about time.”
None of that. Instead: joy.
So, where have you strayed from Jesus? In what ways do you need to return to Him?
Turn back. Don’t hesitate. His joy will receive you.