A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

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.

A brief review of Part 1 and Part 2 of this series:

  • 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.

Cognitive dissonance

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?
(Jer 5:30-31)

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.

Part 1: Sheep, sheep-like shepherds, shepherds, and wolves

Part 2: How can you tell if someone who has the office of shepherd is actually a hireling?

Further reading:

What is the basis for saying Christians must obey church elders?

Submission to authority figures — the Milgram Experiment and Stanford Prison Experiment

Logic and Authority in the Church

Why is the church so slow at responding rightly to the epidemic of abuse?

Jesus on Violence – this addresses self-defence and defence of folks who are oppressed by wolves.

 

24 Comments

  1. Finding Answers

    From the original post “What happens when sheep are led by hirelings and wolves?’

    ^That.

    From the original post “Shepherds want to fix the world and fix their own pain – they see them as linked together…”

    ^That could also be said about SOME sheep, some of whom never (for any number of reasons) become a shepherd.

    From the original post “Shepherds tell the truth…..”

    ^That could also be said about SOME sheep, some of whom never (for any number of reasons) become a shepherd.

    From the original post “Perhaps shepherds would be well advised to sympathise with the sheep in their pain….”

    ^That.

    While SOME sheep never become shepherds (for any number of reasons), that does NOT mean those sheep (who never become shepherds, for any number of reasons) are NOT truth tellers (or are incapable of telling (or recognizing) the truth).

  2. Encourager

    Barbara, this was a difficult post for me to read. Seven years ago we left an independent church after I realized that my efforts were fruitless. For 5 years I had stepped into a shepherd-void. I was rebuffed and reviled by the wolves and ignored or scoffed at by the sheep.

    I like what you said: “Perhaps shepherds would be well advised to sympathise with the sheep in their pain….” That might be a good tactic. The problem in my situation was that very few adults were feeling any pain. The family whose daughter was being molested by the deacon chose to deal with their pain by leaving – after they put an ultimatum to the lead elder – the GRANDFATHER of the girl – “Either he goes or we go.” Guess what the elder chose. (Isn’t that about as pukey as it gets?!)

    Your suggestion had me pondering what I might have done differently. Was I sympathizing with the sheep in their pain? I definitely was sympathizing with the girl and her parents; they may not have wanted to admit it, but it’s an undeniable fact that a 55-year-old man doing shady things with a teen girl will have a lasting detrimental impact on that girl’s life. If she wasn’t feeling pain during their interactions, she was sure to later. The parents wanted to hide from the problem, yet they knew what was happening wasn’t right and good. I urged them to press charges. They would not.

    I definitely was sympathizing with the pain experienced by my children and my niece, who witnessed several sickening incidences between the pervert and the 14 year old girl. I was sooooo angry that they were being subjected to this activity because the leadership refused to take definitive action – something more than a simple “don’t do that anymore.” Ugh. My children were distraught and angered. Distraught because they felt powerless (as did I, even though I was taking action) and angered that the people who were supposed to be protecting them were actually protecting the predator. They felt vulnerable, unsafe.

    Back to the suggestion to sympathize with the sheep in their pain. Seems like in situations similar to what you described, the shepherd must be a salesman. Effective marketers make the target customer aware of the need first, before presenting the solution (their product). If I had it to do over, one thing I definitely would do is be more subtle and build a case and help the comfortable sheep see the problem – help them own it, rather than trying to blatantly reel them in to “my cause”. I would lead them to become aware of the activity – which surely would’ve sickened them as much as it did me. I would lead them to observe without comment until they had enough evidence. I would let them build up enough disgust that they would want to shout about it to the authorities. I would gently help them know that I was available to join with them in doing something about it.

    As it was, after we decided to leave, the lead elder’s wife (grandmother of the girl) – at whose kitchen table I had sat and presented evidence – wrote my husband a letter saying that I “needed to get help”, meaning psychological counseling. That, after months of my trying every way I knew to bring awareness and urge the church leaders to act against this pervert. I expected persecution, so I was not devastated by that letter. It’s so sad that it came from a professing Christian. Note, I said “professing.” You would think that the pain she experienced would’ve been enough to cause her to urge her husband to do right. (I think the predator had done a bang-up job of grooming the elder and his wife. That’s the only explanation that makes any sense.)

    Actually, if I had it to do over, I would not have treated it as a church matter, to be dealt with by church leaders. I would go directly to CPS and the police. That would’ve saved me months of stress and grief. [My health deteriorated because of this debacle. The stress literally almost killed me.] My husband and I did eventually go to the police. They said we didn’t have any evidence beyond hearsay. Sigh.

    • Reaching Out

      Encourager,

      You might notice I have changed the screen name on the comment you submitted to a screen name you used more recently on the blog.

      I changed your screen name for the safety and protection of EVERYONE in the comment you submitted.

      By changing your screen name on the comment you submitted, I was able to NOT airbrush the comment you submitted. 🙂

    • Thank you so much for sharing this, Encourager. I really like this insight of yours:

      Seems like in situations similar to what you described, the shepherd must be a salesman. Effective marketers make the target customer aware of the need first, before presenting the solution (their product). If I had it to do over, one thing I definitely would do is be more subtle and build a case and help the comfortable sheep see the problem – help them own it, rather than trying to blatantly reel them in to “my cause”. I would lead them to become aware of the activity – which surely would’ve sickened them as much as it did me. I would lead them to observe without comment until they had enough evidence. I would let them build up enough disgust that they would want to shout about it to the authorities. I would gently help them know that I was available to join with them in doing something about it.

  3. Finding Answers

    From the original post “Here is a word of encouragement food for thought from the Psalmist:”

    (Strikethrough of “a word of encouragement” / addition of “food for thought” done by me.)

    As cited in the original post “I have more understanding than my teachers; / for thy testimonies are my study.”

    ^That.

    From the original post “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?
    (Jer 5:30-31)”

    Change the words “priests” and “prophets” to different words for various secular / non-secular situations, and Jeremiah 5:30-31 could be applied to MANY situations.

    Truly, there is reason the prophet Jeremiah was called The Weeping Prophet.

  4. Helovesme

    This was hard for me to read as well, but I am so glad you wrote it. As usual, it would serve me well to reread it a few times. Your hypothetical narratives and scenarios mirrored a lot of my personal experiences, both inside AND outside the institutional church.

    I had wanted to leave a reply to Sister’s comment on Part 2 of the series but wasn’t able to commit to the time and energy factor. She pointed out and gave a LOT of food for thought. Some of my thoughts in response to her comment were re-inspired by this post.

    I’ll start here: “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.” (from the original post)

    I believe it was Part 2 that spoke of sheep being easily led, prone to being led (they don’t tend to be self-governing). They tend to move as a group as well. A pastor or church leader may wear the “robes” of a shepherd, but he too is one of the Lord’s sheep. He is just in a position to lead and set an example for the sheep under his authority.

    In real life, a human being shepherds the sheep, he is not the same life form as a sheep—in fact, sheep are technically inferior to human beings. But he leads, guides and protects their lives as if they are just as precious as his own life. The Word says that the shepherd will fight to defend the sheep, even giving his own life if needed. You don’t do that sort of thing with the mentality of “sheep are inferior; they lack souls and human intellect”.

    My beagle left us in 2015, but over the 13 years of raising him, he taught me more than I ever thought possible.

    He wasn’t leash trained for a portion of his life. When he put on a fair amount of weight, it was my job to learn how to walk him so he could shed those pounds. It was imperative and not optional because all that extra weight was affecting his overall health.

    Walking a dog sounds simple, but not for us. He was literally all over the place, literally dragging me down or pulling me in all directions. Keep in mind he was also out of shape. Jokes of “who is walking who” didn’t help matters! I had the leash, but I wasn’t in charge.

    Asserting my dominant position as both human AND owner of my beagle in order to control him didn’t work AND I sensed that wasn’t right. I realized I had to learn how to THINK like him, instead of insisting that he simply take orders from MY thinking. Not that he was in charge—but I had to gain his trust SO that he would feel safe around me.

    Putting a leash around his body was not enough to claim superior power over him. Frankly, he had a fair amount of power over me, too, via that leash! He caused me a great deal of muscular pains with his yanking and pulling.

    That meant I had to literally look down at the sidewalk to see what he was seeing. I had to look at what he looking around at. I watched his body language. His entire stance would change if he spotted a potential cat (his mortal enemy!). So I had to be as on the lookout for cats as he was! In order to take care of him, I had to learn how to think like him.

    I had to watch for broken glass, sharp rocks, discarded trash and a whole host of factors. I had to protect him from other animals and humans—-and even from himself at times. He would be drawn to danger with no real thought of the consequences. That was where I came in, although he would constantly try to outwit me. The “wolves” were everywhere, and he needed me to watch out for them.

    This was one of the MANY reasons I didn’t trust anyone to walk him or even hold onto the leash (for very long!) You can pay people to walk your dog, but you can’t pay them enough to love him. My daily mantra to myself was: never drop the leash. No matter what. If he goes down, you go down with him. If you let the leash go, you might live but he will likely not. It mirrors the hireling, who only cares about the wages.

    I don’t know what sheep are like when they are in pain, but if they are as sensitive as my baby was, it’s a trial and then some. One time I had to pull out a sticker from his paw. He cried, then refused to let me pull it out, then he cried some more. I had gloves on since it was cold, so I just took a few pains in order to release him from pain. I cried with him when he was frustrated about an injured paw. In the past, I might have lost my patience. When I saw his tail lowered, I knew he was terribly unhappy and hadn’t meant to cause me trouble.

    He never became a human and I never became a beagle, but forming a bond isn’t about being the same life form. And you do not form any kind of real bond with the mindset of control, by any means necessary. No wonder it’s hard to know who to trust, leader-wise, in the church. You can’t tell if they just want to loop a leash around you to pull you along against your will, or if they truly care for you, will earn your trust and you will be fed and fulfilled.

    • Finding Answers

      Helovesme,

      In your comment (23RD JUNE 2020 – 12:52 PM), you used eloquent terms to describe how you (amongst other things) looked out for, looked after, and tended to, your beagle.

      You showed great care, concern, and love for your beagle.

      Rather than hijack so many of the lovely examples you described in your (for me) excellent comment, I would suggest that there are MANY folks who could benefit (in any number of ways, for any number of reasons) from reviewing your example of you being a genuine shepherd to your beagle.

      Perhaps your example of you and your beagle could be called a modern parable.

    • Thank you so much Helovesme! What a splendid story you told us, and how well it relates to the subject of the post. 🙂

      You wrapped it up perfectly in your last few sentences. I’m repeating them here because they were so good.

      You do not form any kind of real bond with the mindset of control, by any means necessary. No wonder it’s hard to know who to trust, leader-wise, in the church. You can’t tell if they just want to loop a leash around you to pull you along against your will, or if they truly care for you, will earn your trust and you will be fed and fulfilled.

    • James

      Helovesme, Your story is perfect! It must have been hard to lose your beagle and it may have been hard to write about. Thank you.

      • Helovesme

        Wanted to thank both Finding Answers and James for your incredibly kind and generous replies. James, you are right in that it was very painful to write all of that out. And Finding Answers, you blessed me greatly in picking up on the point of my story—that this four legged creature gave me one of the strongest glimpses into the Lord’s heart.

        I actually left a lot out because I wasn’t sure what the reactions would be. I am sad to say that most professing Christians have fallen FAR below decent expectations when it comes to my pain and grief when we lost him in 2015. So it’s been very hard for me to share about him. I have more confidence in this site versus the persons I have seen in real life, and I am glad I took the chance in sharing.

        There were a few things I left out, but now I feel safe enough to share them, thanks to the compassion you both offered.

        Barb made a beautiful statement in her post:

        “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”

        One of the common questions I got regarding my beagle was: does he howl, due to being a hound dog?

        Yes and no. He was actually more of a screamer. 🙂 And when I say scream, I mean scream. It was not exactly a human sound (he wasn’t human!) but no doubt it was loud and frankly ludicrous sounding. I had no idea how to “handle” this. And I learned quick: you can never out-scream this beagle. He will match you, octave for octave, so you are only egging him on. Even trying to calm him down didn’t help. I would try to talk to him, calmly, and I couldn’t even finish my sentence before he’d start vocalizing over me.

        Not all beagles are created equally. This was NOT in the beagle books. So I did what I could do to “adjust” to this weirdest but most wonderful creature in my life.

        His octaves were different, based on the situation he was in. So I had to learn how to decipher his screams to gauge his emotions or “hear” what he was trying to communicate: hungry, excited, angry, impatient, in pain, scared, or just in the mood to be loud?

        The point where Barb’s statement fits the best is when he was in real pain, or just scared. It did no good to try to argue with him or talk in a calm voice to get him to settle down. I must have seemed like the “wolf” out to get him when I had to give him a bath! It was not meant to hurt him, but he was never convinced of that. Or getting his nails clipped, even though no one was out to get him. You just had to get him through the “distress” and not make it any worse than it already was to him. Don’t argue with him. Love is not about being right, it’s about being right there with him.

        Most of all—do NOT minimize or mock his pain. It was serious to him, even though it technically made no sense. No matter what, the fears were real, so they were real to me, too. I would not stand for anyone putting him down, because if it was personal to him, it was personal to me, too. If an offensive remark was made to him, or about him—you were by proxy saying it to me, and about me, as well.

        The picture Barb shared in another part of this series is what stayed with me. David holding a single sheep, in the midst of a dead lion and bear. The protective way he was holding that sheep was both beautiful and brutal—in the midst of all that blood, the sheep was unscathed.

        I leaned towards being fickle and flaky for most of my younger years—so my beagle taught me a measure of faithfulness. I was able to learn such faithfulness as I learned to take care for him AND about him. He had ailments, injuries, surgeries—-more than I had expected, more than I thought I could handle. But I was proud that I stuck it out and was able to fight off whatever was trying to hurt him, and nurse him back to health.

        So I had that joy that David might have felt, defeating anything and anyone that dared to attack his own, even ONE of his own was worth risking his life over.

        Forget about inner ailments. He was a hard core foodie, and there were times I was either clueless or careless about leaving food where he could get at it. Thankfully he survived, but then I would be afraid of him getting hit by a car, hurting himself at home, etc. Would I be able to protect him from all these outside dangers, not just the ones that inflicted his body?

        The one thing I had no control over was when it would be his time to go. The one Person who was in charge of that, was the One I couldn’t protect him from—but the Lord is not a danger of course. He is not a lion or a bear. But it was a reminder that my beagle was only on “loan” to me. His true owner was the One who had made him, and that was not me. He didn’t feel well on a Saturday and was gone by Monday.

        By the way, I am not offering any Scripture saying that dogs or animals go to Heaven. I am only pointing to the One who did create my beagle, and that is all. There is no doubt in my mind that He sent him to me, so my belief is that He determined not only his birth into this world, but also when it was time for him to leave this world.

        The Bible is so beautiful because it talks about how important ONE is to Him. His only begotten Son, is our Savior. Nathan (in the parable to David) said that a man had just ONE lamb, precious to that man and was brutally taken from him. Jesus said He’d leave the 99 in order to find ONE lost sheep. The voice of one crying in the wilderness paved the way for Him. Just to name a few.

        While one sheep in a flock of many sheep might not bring down the whole flock, that one that is lost is still meaningful, and its value is beyond monetary.

        I had no idea the power of adoption that the Word speaks of until my beagle came to me. The fact that He adopts us as His children, just as my beagle was a full fledged member of our family—made me understand the depth of honor He bestows upon us.

        Victims of abuse are treated so shamefully. People seem to measure your suffering in their own ways—-which is pride at some of its worst. You were abused once? That’s not so bad. Twice? That’s not great, but you got through it, right? Well, how long do you have to suffer before it’s considered “meaningful?” To be taken seriously?

        My beagle was 13 years old, and I raised him since he was 6 weeks old. If you lost your human baby at 13 seconds, minutes, days, weeks, months, years—I would NOT tell you to get over it. That it wasn’t “that bad” because of the time factor, and I am the one who decides how you do or do not experience your personal tragedy.

        Since abuse is murder, something real was taken away from you. No matter how supposedly long or short the abuse episodes lasted, or how many of those episodes occurred.

        I could not get professing Christians to understand this about my abuse, or in the cruel aftermath of losing my fur baby. They really seemed to think that both instances of both horror and hurt weren’t “that bad.” Or the holes that they left behind. Or the void of emptiness. Or the broken heart.

        I almost never talk about him because I cannot stand to hear or see his memory being dishonored. I spent more time than I had planned defending the worth of his life than honoring it; I had to finally distance myself from nearly everyone because they were only pouring salt into the wounds, even when I begged them to stop.

        Strange how wolves or hirelings by proxy reveal themselves, and NOT just regarding abuse. They didn’t understand my shedding of many, many tears over just ONE loss, one beagle, who wasn’t even human. I wish they had God’s understanding of the value of ONE, because my beagle was and is the one that God used to change my life. Strange how we honor Him with our lips for His “mysterious ways,” but how many of us are mocking them in our hearts?

        I don’t think David looked at his sheep with dollar signs written on them, OR, look at his own life with a much higher dollar amount on him! If so, he wouldn’t have risked his own life, for a supposedly far less numerically valuable creature as a sheep.

        Can you imagine if Christ felt that way about us?? He is certainly above and beyond us in terms of worth and value. But to Him, our value is beyond numbers, because His own blood purchased us, which is something you just can’t put a dollar amount on!

      • Thank you so much Helovesme for telling more about your relationship with your beagle, what you learned from him and how you grew in the learning.

        You have a gift for seeing and highlighting how your life experiences have helped you grow in your understanding of God. Finding Answers was right to say that your story about your beagle is like a parable.

  5. Helovesme

    The section where Barb beautifully spoke about what happens if a sheep tries to stand up to oppressors resonated strongly with me:

    “they’ll watch to see whether that person is severely punished by the oppressors.”

    I’ll never forget an incident when I was in high school. A young boy and two girls were standing together, I was standing alone behind them.

    He made a horrible remark about me, in full knowledge that I could hear him.

    One of the girls laughed hard. The other girl looked at me over her shoulder, with a look of pity on her face.

    But she didn’t say a word, didn’t make a move from that group. To be honest, people like her are the worst. They know better (or so it seems), but they will not budge. They are not as “like-minded” with the group, but they are so “loyalty minded” that they will stifle their conscience in order to be liked by the group.

    She felt some sort of “pang” on my behalf (enough to choose not to laugh hilariously like the other girl). But it was nothing more than condescending pity, which is just as bad if not worse.

    The attitude is: so you know what they said and what they are doing is wrong. So you want me to know that you care, but in reality you don’t care at all. She pandered to the oppressor but pouted to the oppressed. In order to cover all her bases, supposedly, but all she did was cover her own front and back—-refusing to humanize me OR him OR her. He was wolf-like, the laughing girl was a wolf by proxy. The other girl seemed to think she was more of a hired hand, only there for the “wages” of approval and acceptance (and who can fault her for that; everyone wants to belong, right?). But in reality, she too was a wolf by proxy. And I was the “juicy” sheep (from the original post!), vulnerable and lacking any protection.

    Pathetic, pitiful looks are not “enough” to justify a clean conscience.

    From the original post: ‘To escape such a fate themselves, they will continue obeying the hirelings and wolves.”

    I wonder what would have happened if BOTH girls hadn’t chosen to laugh, but even further—they told him that he was nothing but rude and crude and why would anyone want to be around you? No one tried to do that, but it’s fair to wonder how that would have gone down.

    • Finding Answers

      Helovesme commented (23RD JUNE 2020 – 1:08 PM) “I wonder what would have happened if BOTH girls hadn’t chosen to laugh, but even further—they told him that he was nothing but rude and crude and why would anyone want to be around you? No one tried to do that, but it’s fair to wonder how that would have gone down.”

      ^That.

  6. Helovesme

    Just to add to that last comment; I am separating it because it’s a prime factor in how we behave as His sheep and how we are treated by other sheep.

    If you’ve ever been abused or attacked or even badly bullied—one of the strongest pains is that no one protected you when you needed it. Worse yet, it may have been the very ones who were supposed to protect you that you needed protecting from.

    However, that is NEVER meant to be translated to: protect me because I am your possession. I wish someone would own me so I would not get hurt. I don’t have an identity of worth and value on my own, so I want someone to slap their identity onto me so I will be kept safe from harm.

    In the desperate drive for survival, this might be or become the reality. But that only adds another layer of abuse. You see yourself as a piece of property only to be walked all over.

    But you wish you were a piece of property with a tall fence around you, so that no one can walk all over you anymore.

    In both scenarios you are still a piece of property, a plot of land, a flimsy doormat. The dehumanization aspect is the true travesty.

    From the original post, when Barb pointed out that if a sheep is bold enough to take a stand, if that sheep is punished, their reaction is: “To escape such a fate themselves, they will continue obeying the hirelings and wolves.”

    So often, when those around me are in the midst of “cognitive dissonance,” they don’t even bother to talk to me or hear me out or hear my side of things. I think they do so to avoid “taking sides,” but in reality, they are against taking a stand. The more perspectives you hear, the decisions become harder to make.

    My personal viewpoint is only legitimate if it comes from me personally. If you listen to others who are either claiming to know me, or know my thinking, you are going nowhere. This is wretchedly painful, because so often people who think they know you do not know you at all. And those you think know you will often act as though they never knew you at all, or they question how well they know you. Maybe my character is sketchy, not solid?

    “When shepherds tell the truth, this causes pain to the sheep by providing a counter narrative which adds to the sheep’s cognitive dissonance”

    The entire context leading up to that statement is worth the read. I know for myself, I want things to be more simple than they really are. Shepherds or sheep that tell the truth are not meaning to complicate an already complicated world, which is full of a lot of pain, both personal and not so personal. But that is often what happens.

    “The sheep and the wolves, whose interests are opposed, combine to attack the shepherds.”

    It’s so strange how this happens (especially since their interests are opposed) but it does. Wolves do not care about the sheep; only as prey to be preyed upon and devoured. And I honestly do not believe His born again sheep WANT to be preyed upon and devoured by the wolves. I speculate that sheep do not always realize that they are being preyed up or even devoured. Darkness has a way of masquerading as if it is the light, but in reality there is no safety, no freedom, and certainly no Biblical love.

    This is where I think this point applies, but it is hard to be applied in real life. From the original post:

    “Shepherds want to fix the world and fix their own pain – they see them as linked together, whereas sheep and wolves do not.”

    James 3:5 says a tiny spark can set a whole forest on fire. One untamed tongue, set on fire by Hell itself, can destroy many, many living trees—burning them down from tall trees full of foliage, to mere lifeless stumps.

    You don’t tend to see trees living in isolation, apart from other trees or shrubs or whatnot. Even if they are set far apart, their roots likely connect them to be closer than you think.

    One of the most cruel of observations I have made, is how abuse in all its horrible shapes and forms, even marital abuse (which you might think of as existing in private homes and therefore set apart from society)—-has a tendency to hurt FAR more than just the victim. Whole families, communities, churches and even further reaching than that. And a victim or victim’s pain, while deeply personal of course, has consequences that spread out like tree branches that reach far and wide and high. A victim’s pain is personal to her, and when it becomes personal to others as well—something connects us (as a form of Biblical unity), instead of dividing us (as the wolves would delight in).

    I don’t have it all figured out. But that WILL hopefully reveal that the interests of wolves and sheep do not in reality have a common enemy (truth telling shepherds).

    Victims of abuse (or anyone in pain in general) tend to understand fear in terribly intimate ways. Many times, I personally don’t want to hear the truth because I am afraid of what it will reveal. The other day I was trying to ask the Lord to tell me the truth, but I was so scared as to what or how He would answer. I’m still working on that, because only someone that truly loves you would risk offending you (maybe even losing you) in order to tell you what you need to hear, not necessarily what you want to hear.

    When I was young I was told: friends don’t let friends drive drunk. In this individualized, “don’t tell me what to do; I have the right to do what I want” atmosphere, I do not think this phrase would fly. We were encouraged to take the keys away from a friend who is too intoxicated and therefore judgment impaired, to get behind the wheel of a 2,000 pound car, a potential bullet that could kill innocents in or out of the car.

    The attitude was: a real friend would do this, even risk losing that friendship in order to protect that friend AND the public at large—-by telling them the truth: you should not drive and I will do what I have to do. It was understood that we all share the roads. No one drives in isolation. One life is capable of destroying many lives.

    • Finding Answers

      Helovesme,

      I am hijacking parts of your 23RD JUNE 2020 – 2:44 PM comment.

      While there are other parts of ^That comment that resonated with me, I must, for my own (personal) safety and protection, omit hijacking those parts. Very big sigh.

      You wrote: “In the desperate drive for survival, this might be or become the reality. But that only adds another layer of abuse. You see yourself as a piece of property only to be walked all over.”

      ^That.

      You also wrote: “But you wish you were a piece of property with a tall fence around you, so that no one can walk all over you anymore.”

      ^That.

      You also wrote: “My personal viewpoint is only legitimate if it comes from me personally. If you listen to others who are either claiming to know me, or know my thinking, you are going nowhere. This is wretchedly painful, because so often people who think they know you do not know you at all. And those you think know you will often act as though they never knew you at all, or they question how well they know you….”

      ^That.

      You also wrote: “James 3:5 says a tiny spark can set a whole forest on fire. One untamed tongue, set on fire by Hell itself, can destroy many, many living trees—burning them down from tall trees full of foliage, to mere lifeless stumps.”

      Analogous to ^That example: Consider how many wildfires are started by individuals who carelessly throw out their spent matches, cigarettes, etc..

      You also wrote: “Victims of abuse (or anyone in pain in general) tend to understand fear in terribly intimate ways…..”

      ^That.

  7. Finding Answers

    Helovesme,

    You wrote (27TH JUNE 2020 – 9:09 PM): “His octaves were different, based on the situation he was in. So I had to learn how to decipher his screams to gauge his emotions or “hear” what he was trying to communicate: hungry, excited, angry, impatient, in pain, scared, or just in the mood to be loud?”

    ^That is SO much like humans with children! 🙂

    You also wrote: “….statement fits the best is when he was in real pain, or just scared. It did no good to try to argue with him or talk in a calm voice to get him to settle down…..” AND “….It was not meant to hurt him, but he was never convinced of that…..” AND “….even though no one was out to get him. You just had to get him through the “distress” and not make it any worse than it already was to him. Don’t argue with him. Love is not about being right, it’s about being right there with him.”

    For me, ^That would also hold true.

    You also wrote: “Most of all—do NOT minimize or mock his pain. It was serious to him, even though it technically made no sense…..”

    For me, ^That would also hold true.

    You also wrote: “By the way, I am not offering any Scripture saying that dogs or animals go to Heaven. I am only pointing to the One who did create my beagle, and that is all. There is no doubt in my mind that He sent him to me, so my belief is that He determined not only his birth into this world, but also when it was time for him to leave this world.”

    God is the Creator. Those who decry your belief MAY find themselves answering to God.

    You also wrote: “I had no idea the power of adoption that the Word speaks of until my beagle came to me. The fact that He adopts us as His children, just as my beagle was a full fledged member of our family—made me understand the depth of honor He bestows upon us.”

    I never had children, nor was I allowed to own a pet.

    Perhaps ^That is why I sometimes struggle with believing I am an adopted child of God.

    You also wrote: “Victims of abuse are treated so shamefully. People seem to measure your suffering in their own ways—-which is pride at some of its worst. You were abused once? That’s not so bad. Twice? That’s not great, but you got through it, right? Well, how long do you have to suffer before it’s considered “meaningful?” To be taken seriously?”

    ^That.

    You also wrote: “My beagle was 13 years old, and I raised him since he was 6 weeks old…..”

    I can only imagine your pain.

    You also wrote: “I could not get professing Christians to understand this about my abuse, or in the cruel aftermath of losing my fur baby. They really seemed to think that both instances of both horror and hurt weren’t “that bad.” Or the holes that they left behind. Or the void of emptiness. Or the broken heart.”

    Perhaps the key words are “professing Christians”.

    I have encountered many of the same type of “christian”, and they truly do not understand how clueless and hurtful are their actions and words.

    You also wrote: “I almost never talk about him because I cannot stand to hear or see his memory being dishonored…”

    ^That.

    You also wrote: “They didn’t understand my shedding of many, many tears over just ONE loss, one beagle, who wasn’t even human. I wish they had God’s understanding of the value of ONE, because my beagle was and is the one that God used to change my life….”

    ^That.

    You also wrote: “Can you imagine if Christ felt that way about us?? He is certainly above and beyond us in terms of worth and value. But to Him, our value is beyond numbers, because His own blood purchased us, which is something you just can’t put a dollar amount on!”

    ^That.

    • Helovesme

      Thank you once again Finding Answers for valuing and validating everyone’s comments, including mine.

      By the way, I have the “Pounding the facts” post on my browser with your especially insightful comments (and Barb’s responses will be just as good I am sure). I just haven’t gotten around to giving it the time it deserves. It took a lot out of me to write that last comment while I was struggling with chronic pain, specifically inflammation.

      • Finding Answers

        Helovesme,

        You wrote (28TH JUNE 2020 – 11:26 AM): “….for valuing and validating everyone’s comments, including mine.”

        There are many times I would respond WAY more than I actually comment.

        I read EVERYONE’S comments.

        There are times I do not comment because what I learned / valued / etc. are things that, without my exact history, most individuals would not understand (no offence intended).

        There are times I do not comment because what I learned / valued / etc. are things I cannot explain, as I would be hijacking words / phrases / sentences / etc. from all over the internet, various books (including those books no longer in my possession, or even in existence), and many other sources.

        You wrote: “….It took a lot out of me to write that last comment while I was struggling with chronic pain, specifically inflammation.”

        ^That, although I may not have any inflammation.

      • Hi Finding Answers, I think all of us ‘high-jack’ words / phrases / sentences from other people. The English Language is shared by all English speakers. We learn from other English speakers, and when we speak or write we employ the words we have heard from others.

        Do you feel it is somehow wrong of you to be high-jacking other people’s words / phrases / sentences? Do you feel it would be somehow dishonest or in-authentic of you to not acknowledge another person’s words when you use their words?

        I hope my questions are not offensive. If they are, please tell me.

    • Finding Answers, it is so sad that you were never allowed to own a pet. Knowing what you’ve told us about your parents, they probably took that line deliberately, as one more way to abuse you. 😦

      • Finding Answers

        Barb,

        You wrote (28TH JUNE 2020 – 8:00 PM): “….they probably took that line deliberately, as one more way to abuse you.”

        NOT ^That.

        When I was a child, only one of my siblings ever had pets, and none of those pets were of the kind that had a very long lifespan.

        When I was married, I did not have any pets because I was too busy looking after my covert aggressive “husband”.

        Since my divorce, I have not have any pets because I’ve been too busy looking after myself.

  8. Finding Answers

    Barb,

    You asked (28TH JUNE 2020 – 7:56 PM): “….Do you feel it is somehow wrong of you to be high-jacking other people’s words / phrases / sentences?….”

    NOT ^That.

    You also asked: “….Do you feel it would be somehow dishonest or in-authentic of you to not acknowledge another person’s words when you use their words?”

    ^That.

  9. Finding Answers

    From the title of the post “What happens when sheep are led by hirelings and wolves?”

    Pharisees do the following:

    Matthew 23:3-4 New Matthew Bible (NMB)

    23:3-4 All therefore that they bid you to observe, that observe and do. But do not follow their works. For they say, but do not do. 4 Yea and they bind up heavy burdens, grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to carry them themselves.

    ^That.

    Sheep hear and do the following (pardon the unintentional pun on the word “following”):

    Luke 9:23 New Matthew Bible (NMB)

    23 And he said to them all, if any person would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me.

    ^That.

    …and every day, the sheep add another cross to their own back.

    • Finding Answers

      I commented (30TH JUNE 2020 – 1:48 PM): “Sheep hear and do the following (pardon the unintentional pun on the word “following”):”

      Luke 9:23 New Matthew Bible (NMB)

      23 And he said to them all, if any person would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me.

      “^That.

      …and every day, the sheep add another cross to their own back.”

      Adding on to my comment.

      …and every day, the Christian (not “christian”) sheep similar to me (in any number of ways, for any number of reasons), has been trained by their abuser(s) to pick up everyone else’s cross and add it to their (the Christian’s) own back.

      And how many of ^Those Christian sheep bear ^Those burden(s) in silence.

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