Monday, July 16, 2012

Black Sheep, Take Heart!

“So-and-so is the black sheep of the family (or other group).” English speakers have all heard and spoken those words--maybe even to describe themselves. A “black sheep” is someone who doesn’t conform to the rules, values, and expected behaviors of the flock of presumably white sheep. Anyone (like yours truly) who’s ever been a card-carrying member of the Black Sheep Society can attest to the fact that their “blackness” has afforded them many a scornful stare or shaming word. More often, it’s brought loneliness because “white sheep” avoid the company of “black sheep” out of fear, judgment, pride, or all of the above.

There must be a lot of proverbial black sheep wandering this planet of ours because the “black sheep” idiom is also common in 17 other languages! The expression even appears in the Bible:

“…He {Jesus Christ} embraced the company of the lowest. He took on His shoulders the sin of the many, He took up the cause of the black sheep.” –ISAIAH 53:12 (MSG)

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