Thursday, March 29, 2012

On Sheep, Wolves, Sheepdogs and the Good Sheppard…

Lt. Col. (Ret) Dave Grossman author of “On Killing” and “On Combat” (about the psychological effects of violence on society) has a very interesting article posted on his website about the concept of society being broken down into three categories: Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs

The Sheep, are most of the citizens of the world.  Generally peaceful and incapable of intentionally inflicting harm on their fellow citizens.  Sheep generally don’t like to think about danger and do all they can to avoid it.  They just want to live their lives in peace. 

Then you have wolves.  They are predatory by nature.  They want to kill, maim, hurt, steal from and take advantage of the sheep. This is their nature to find weakness, exploit it to the utmost harm. Acting out in violent fashion is their means of accomplishing this.  Wolves are the ‘bad guys’, criminals, terrorists, dictators, abusive people, bullies, etc….

Third is the sheepdog.  He is very similar to the wolf in that he is capable of great violence but the BIG DIFFERENCE is that the sheepdog is there to protect the sheep.  He watches out for them and will sacrifice his life on their behalf.  Commonly these people are police officers, firefighters, soldiers, etc…One really interesting point of the article was that Grossman points out that generally the sheep don’t really care for the sheepdog until a crisis comes up.  The sheepdog is a reminder that there is danger in the world, so he is shunned until that crisis does occur, then they all look to the sheepdog to keep them safe.

As I always do, I read this with a spiritual eye and it was an interesting exercise to consider how this applies to the spiritual battles we fight every day.  It makes you ask: “Am I sheep or a sheepdog?”…especially when you consider this question: “Who is the Good Sheppard?” (“I(Jesus) am the good Sheppard” John 10:14)

The fact is that there are spiritual wolves all around us and the danger they pose is very real.  The destruction and havoc that they wreak is more destructive than any physical danger we encounter.

Unfortunately there are many who wander this spiritual battleground as sheep. They refuse to acknowledge the danger they are in the middle of. You can recognize them by their statements like “It doesn’t hurt anybody”, “I can sin a little now and repent later”, “I don’t want to put that much effort into my calling”, “it’s not good to be too righteous” etc…

Being a warrior requires extreme effort (there’s that word that Satan hates again…effort).  It’s tough, especially for the RIGHTEOUS WARRIOR.  Sheep would rather not make the effort.  There are times when the sheepdog struggles in this effort.  It is physically demanding, emotionally draining and spiritually taxing. It is hard to do…and that is what makes it worthwhile…

This is what I think really bothers most people who take exception to this concept that I talk about…being WARRIORS.  Even though scriptures, hymns, prophets and just about everything else in the gospel points to the fact that the holders of the priesthood are true warriors in the service of God…the sheep are very bothered by this. It makes them uncomfortable. They don’t like it.  Some will even try to get the warrior to feel bad about it saying that he isn’t being ‘Christ-like’ and he needs to focus on the kinder, gentler aspect of the gospel.

That’s all wonderful…but who will care for the flock of the Good Sheppard if we get rid of the sheepdogs? Does the Sheppard ignore the dangers? Does He try to forget the challenging aspects of being a warrior?

“The LORD is a man of war(a Warrior): the LORD is his name. (Jesus)” Exodus 15:3 – Jesus is a warrior! If we are to be like Him and follow his example…then we are to be warriors ourselves…sheepdogs for the Sheppard.

Here is the best part of the article by Lt. Col. Grossman: “In nature the sheep, real sheep, are born as sheep. Sheepdogs are born that way, and so are wolves. They didn’t have a choice. But you are not a critter. As a human being, you can be whatever you want to be. It is a conscious, moral decision.”

Here is the kicker!

“But if you want to be a sheepdog and walk the warrior’s path, then you must make a conscious and moral decision every day to dedicate, equip and prepare yourself to thrive in that toxic, corrosive moment when the wolf comes knocking at the door.”

As you watch or listen to General Conference this weekend.  Learn what you can do to be a Sheepdog for the good Sheppard.

Arise from the dust…and be MEN...put on the armor of righteousness – CHOOSE TO BE A SHEEPDOG and walk the path of the Righteous Warrior.