good shepherd

Trust is a funny thing.  We trust others only as much as we see them live out their convictions.  Over the years our society has systematically lost trust in people who hold leadership positions.  This is for a good reason by the way.

Before my parents were even alive there were some well-meaning people who thought that they had a system of governance that would mean equality for all and that would solve a bunch of problems in society.  The outcome of this system was supposed to be an utopia.  This remedy was not just a system but “truth.” Pretty soon, some not so well meaning people got a hold of this truth and after a man names Stalin got a hold of it, we can count the cost at around 30 million lives.

Hitler claimed to have truth.  But in order for truth to prevail, he had to exercise his final solution.  We look at these people and say, “but they were evil!”  Sure but now, “truth” is suspect.  I believe that Jesus is who he says he was and that he is the truth and the life.  But that is suspect too, especially when people who work for the guy start having affairs, doing drugs, steeling money and molesting children.

Systematically our society has lost trust in the notion of truth because of the way it has been lived out.

When spiritual leaders fall, there is a black mark that is made in the mind next to the church.  All of the sudden this institution that had the trust of the people, abused it, all of the sudden this institution that proclaimed that they had the truth, didn’t.  All of the sudden there was fallout everywhere because of people who have abused their authority.  These people were bad shepherds.  The scripture handles bad shepherds pretty harshly.  But it also describes a good shepherd, a shepherd that abandons the group that is safe to go looking for the one that is lost, a shepherd that protects his flock, a shepherd that lays his life down for the sheep.

A lot of times when we think of church, we think of the one bad shepherd that screwed up.  (And by the way, there is grace for them too.)  But we don’t tend to think about the one shepherd that is leading this group of imperfect people.  We don’t think of the one whose burden is light and easy to carry, the one who will never leave or forsake us.  Only when we begin to follow the good shepherd will we truly be able to forgive the imperfect shepherd. Only when we forgive the imperfect shepherd will we be able to walk freely.

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