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When Sheep Attack

Do sheep really love their leaders?

This question may seem weird and unnecessary but one can avoid pain by understanding different types of love. Of course, members can love their spiritual leader. Some members hurt their spiritual leader unintentionally and much of that could be avoided by the leader's ability to differentiate relationships.

Here's an example.

Think about a pre-school teacher and her students. She was hired to teach the students about various topics and to care for them properly. The teacher has no right to get upset or take it personally when a student moves classes or schools. The students have legal guardians/parents that make decisions beyond the teacher's control. The teacher's job is to

watch over the students while they're in their care. Most students do not think about hurting the teacher's feelings or what they went through the night before class. They just expect the teacher to be available and to tend to their feelings and situations while teaching them.

Let's translate it into spiritual leadership.

God is the creator and the keeper of the soul (Psalm 121:5, Genesis 2:7). God is the parent and makes the decisions. Like the teacher, the spiritual leader is the watcher of the soul (Hebrews 13:17). To watch doesn't mean to take, steal, or claim. Members should respect the leader and care about them but it's not logical to expect the same consideration from them. When a leader begins to think that the members are not caring for them the same way they do, there's a definite misunderstanding of roles.

Tips for Leaders...

  • Keep in mind that you're a servant of God and people do not belong to you. The Holy Spirit reminds us of Jesus (John 14:26) so why would we want people to be subject to us? We are NOT God. Yes, spiritual abuse does happen and members can spiritually abuse a leader. However, it's the leader's responsibility to remember their role in the member's lives. The role is selfless. We must follow the role that Jesus did by sacrificing.

  • They usually love the way God uses you and how you treat them. It's important to understand that they may not love your basic around the house self. This makes sense because they don't know that person. They only know what they experience, see, and feel when they interact with you. If you're always ministering, then that's what they enjoy about you. There's no need to take offense. As the leader, you are supposed to love them more than they love you.

Why is that?

When you said yes to the call, you made a decision to serve in an office appointed by Jesus Christ. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice and as a leader, you will need to continue His work by sacrificing yourself. That means you can't be involved in your own feelings even when people betray you. You're caring for the sheep because they're needy. God needs you to love them past their failures, insecurities, mistakes, and wrongs. You said yes to the job and were hired with purpose.

And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved. 2 Corinthians 12:15

In 2 Corinthians 15, Paul was explaining his fatherly love for the Corinthian church that required more sacrifice on his part. He knew that the people could not love him the same way that he loved them. Of course, he wanted to be loved by them but he knew that they were not held accountable to love him in the same way that he was.

My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. James 3:1

With all that being said, it doesn't mean that when sheep attack, it won't hurt. It may hurt a lot. That's okay. We always go to God for healing and comfort. I strongly believe that leaders should consistently receive healing and deliverance from a reliable source. Ministers need to be ministered to as well. Everybody needs deliverance, we are not Jesus. Jesus was 100% God and 100% man at the same time. We are imperfect vessels that are used by God, there's a big difference.

So Peter, will you care for the lambs and the sheep? Even when they attack you, talk about you, lie to you, steal from you, humiliate you, disannul you, discredit your name, and expect you to do more for them than they do for themselves?

So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. John 21:15-17

Love them because you love Him.


Prayer for Ministers:

Lord, I've felt abused by those that you've called me to care for. I've felt unappreciated, forgotten, and overlooked. I know that You Lord Jesus gave your life for me and you suffered. I understand that there's more at stake than my emotions and feelings about how others treat me. I repent for any time that I've acted out of frustration, anger, woundedness, brokenness, and abuse. I repent for any damaged that I've caused to any member of the Body of Christ due to my reactions and pain. Lord, I truly forgive everyone of the sheep that have hurt me and spiritually abused me. I forgive those that did not heed the warning. I forgive those that were insubordinate. I forgive those that had ill agendas towards me and the ministry You have in me. I forgive those that betrayed me and talked about me. Lord, I forgive everyone that has hurt me and I am ready to heal. I open my heart now to receive all of Your love and comfort in the hidden places that no one else knows about. Lord, please forgive me for all of my sins and give me the grace to be the leader you've called me to be. I completely surrender myself, the ministry, and my calling to You. In the name of Jesus. Amen



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