What happens when sheep are led by hirelings and wolves?
Society and especially the churches are in perilous times. It is imperative to understand what can happen when evildoers are controlling the masses.
- There are three kinds of people: Sheep, Shepherds and Wolves.
- Shepherds are focused on caring for the sheep.
- Shepherds are truth-tellers who present truth and evidence that exposes wolves.
- Shepherds are the only true threat to the wolves.
- Shepherds don’t necessarily have official titles.
- Hirelings are false shepherds.
- Hirelings are focused on preserving their authority, ego and image.
- Hirelings will not give their lives for the sheep.
- Wolves can pretty easily manipulate hirelings to turn them into proxy-wolves.
A shepherd’s job is to care for the sheep, not control them. A shepherd even gives his life for the sheep if need be. Caring for sheep involves:
- feeding the sheep: providing / leading / guiding the sheep to wholesome grazing grounds
- sheltering the sheep: protecting them from wolves / predators / thieves / deceivers / hirelings
Wolves want to lead or push people off the path, into the weeds and the rocky ground. Wolves tell lies to lead people off the path. Wolves pick the juiciest sheep to chew on: the ones who are vulnerable, easy to manipulate and intimidate; the ones who can easily be discredited if they cry out.
A sheep can take on a shepherd role. One way this happens is when sheep choose a shepherd to lead a group project. For example, when boys organise themselves for a ball game they will nominate a captain and the captain will organise the players from there. When the game is over the boy who acted as captain becomes one of the boys again. If he is sensible he will want the companionship of his peers; he will not want to go on telling the other boys what to do.
Adults who share a common interest form clubs and associations. From among their number they may elect a few leaders to organise the group – chairperson, secretary, committee. The committee members need the respect and support of the rest of the group — but they also want to participate in and enjoy the group activities.
When sheep are led by hirelings and oppressed by wolves, a sheep might step forward to take on the role of a shepherd.
When a sheep points out the hirelings’ contradictory messages, challenges the hirelings, and exposes and stares down the wolves, that sheep is taking on the role of a shepherd.
What happens next?
If the other sheep have been so thoroughly bewitched by hirelings or wolves that they don’t realise they’ve been misled and controlled, they will probably see the sheep-cum-shepherd as a mad dog … and not follow him.
However, if the other sheep personally feel pain (oppression) from what the hirelings and wolves are doing, they will see their sheep-brother-sister is bravely challenging and defying their oppressors and they’ll watch to see whether that person is severely punished by the oppressors.
- If that person is not punished by the oppressors for disobedience, the other sheep will take courage and start resisting the control of the hirelings and wolves. In other words, they will do what sheep naturally do: follow the shepherd.
- But if the sheep see that the person who stepped up into a shepherd role is punished by the hirelings and wolves, they will probably not follow the shepherd. To escape such a fate themselves, they will continue obeying the hirelings and wolves.
A lot of people these days are experiencing cognitive dissonance. Suddenly they don’t know where they are. So many rapid changes are happening in the world.
Cognitive dissonance occurs when a person is presented with two or more contradictory messages. The messages may be beliefs, ideas, or values, or signals. The subconscious mind recognises the contradiction and signals that something is wrong with the reality that is being presented to them. This signal takes the form of distress in the body. It can range from disquiet to “can’t sit still” pain if it persists. It causes both physical and mental distress.
A web-article or a video can be turned off and forgotten. But someone standing in front of them can’t be switched off so easily. They may dislike and distrust a politician, but they can turn him off. They can’t do that so easily to the shepherd standing in front of them. They don’t have the power to make that shepherd and the distress the shepherd is causing them go away. So they get angry inside at the shepherd far more than at the politician whom they are blaming and who is the source of the lies.
Shepherds want to fix the world and fix their own pain – they see them as linked together, whereas sheep and wolves do not. When shepherds tell the truth, this causes pain to the sheep by providing a counter narrative which adds to the sheep’s cognitive dissonance. Sheep do not want to fix the world; they just want to fix their own pain. The sheep think the shepherd is the enemy because the shepherd is causing them pain.
Shepherds tell the truth. The truth provides a counter narrative that interferes with plans of the wolves. This causes pain (or at the very least inconvenience) to the wolves. Hence, the wolves want to attack the shepherds.
Therefore, when sheep are led by wolves and hirelings (proxy-wolves), and a shepherd comes forward telling the truth, the outcome is often this: The sheep and the wolves, whose interests are opposed, combine to attack the shepherds.
For those who aspire in any way to be shepherds, it is probably not a good idea to argue with sheep who have been taught by wolves.
But the servant of the Lord must not quarrel, but must be peaceable towards all, able to teach, and one that can be patient with the evil, and can correct those who resist – if perhaps God at any time will give them repentance to know the truth, so that they may come to themselves again out of the snare of the devil, who are now taken by him at his will. (2 Tim 2:24-26 )
Perhaps shepherds would be well advised to sympathise with the sheep in their pain, then gently point the sheep towards the wolves and their contradictions as the source of their distress, while not arguing with the sheep.
In the days of Jeremiah, hirelings and wolves were controlling the people of God.
A horrible, terrible thing
has taken place in the land.
The prophets prophesy falsely,
and the priests rule by their own authority.
My people love it like this.
But what will you do at the end of it?
There is plenty of evidence to indicate that things are similar today; the institutional church is controlled by hirelings and wolves and many sheep love it that way. I pray that more sheep will develop the wisdom and courage to step forward into shepherd roles.
Here is a word of encouragement from the Psalmist:
I have more understanding than my teachers; / for thy testimonies are my study.
I have more discernment than the aged; / because I keep thy commandments.
I have refrained my feet from every evil way, / that I may keep thy word.
I have not shrunk from thy judgements; / for thou teachest me.
O how sweet are thy words unto my throat, / yea, sweeter than honey unto my mouth.
Through thy precepts I get understanding: / therefore I hate all evil ways.
(Ps 119:99-104, Myles Coverdale’s translation, Book of Common Prayer 1662)
Society and especially the churches are in perilous times. It is imperative for all people of good will to understand what can happen when hirelings and wolves are controlling the masses.
It was very difficult for me to write this post. Thank you to James, Sister, Gany T., Helovesme, Reaching Out, and other readers whose ideas have contributed to its formulation.
Posts in this series
Part 3: Is this post.
Jesus on Violence – this addresses self-defence and defence of folks who are oppressed by wolves.