“Jesus was gentle and tender and true. He was righteous but also stern and tough on phony people.” The Shepherd Trilogy by Phillip Keller
As I was speaking to God about what this statement means through the light of him being a good shepherd he showed me that the very essence of the word stern was to be uncompromising. That he is uncompromising when it comes to the fact that he will not accept anything but the best for His creation and is unwilling to let us walk in anything but that. He is constant in His pursuit of us as the Good Shepherd.
He is tough, not easily influenced, as he stands firm on what he knows to be the truth. He is unwilling to let us accept anything less than that truth, His best, for us His beloved.
So, we could ascertain then, Jesus was gentle and tender and true. He was righteous and uncompromising in his pursuit of the revelation of the truth, he stands firm in that truth unwilling to bend or allow any of us to walk in anything less than His ultimate best for us.
Many interpret Jesus as being tough and stern on people without viewing that through the lens of his ultimate love, care, and desire for us to fully embrace and be able to walk in all He has for us, with Him forever. They have interpreted that toughness or sternness as permission for them to look down on those they oppose. Unfortunately, they take that view and use it to justify rudeness, belittling, and arrogance if you will, in their own behavior towards others.
Love is never arrogant or rude. Love is always patient and kind. The heart behind Jesus’ actions was always love, his desire was for us to be free and walking in the truth of who we have always been. He loved each and every person as he created us all in his image what he hated was the lies stealing away His best in their lives. The war isn’t against flesh and blood and often times it appears that is forgotten.
I sadly have seen many examples of this type of interpretation as justification of these very behaviors both online and in real life as these beloved’s misperception of Jesus’ intentions overflows into what they have come to believe their “job” and “right” is as His children. They have believed that it is their “job” or “right” to keep the rest of the flock in line, forgetting the foundation that it needs to be rooted in love. They have bypassed the Shepherd and have climbed over the sheepfold asserting this misgiven perception. (I get it, I really do, as there was a time in my own life that I also felt that it was my duty, or job to do just that. It was an exhausting job, but one that brought much self-justification and self-satisfaction but was ultimately dripping with pride and arrogance as I was unable to recognize that I had stepped out of the rest of my beloved. Oh, what little did I know.)
The truth is there is only one shepherd and anyone who enters the sheepfold any other way but the door is a thief and a robber. Don’t get me wrong they can still be sheep, and part of the true shepherds precious flock but may simply not yet be understanding the reality that as a sheep our only job is to simply trust the shepherd and rest in his care.
Only the owner of the sheep has the rights to enter through the door of the sheepfold. There is only one owner and it is his job and role alone to care for the sheep and that included keeping the sheep in line, and free from any danger.
The shepherd has the rights to ownership and authority and those of us who have willingly yielded ourselves to that care have joined our brothers and sisters in the fold of our precious shepherd. I use to believe that ownership and authority where bad things.
God has ownership and authority over me because he created me. Yet he created me with free will so that I could choose to believe and submit to this truth or not. Ultimately, submitting to his ownership and authority is resting in his care and provision for my own life. Ownership only means so much as the character of the owner. Likewise, authority will look differently depending on the character of the owner. Our understanding of who Elohim is, and ultimately our intimate knowledge of the trinity affects our understanding and view of what that authority and ownership looks like.
If we believe that God is a tyrant demanding his rule and authority over us then we are missing what Christ came to show us in the flesh about the truth of His desire.
Ownership-The Good Shepherd offers us protection, care, health, healing, lack of worries, provision, fellowship, family, security, comfort, joy, happiness, guidance to the very best pastures and so much more. Ownership is me allowing myself to submit-to choose God, to yield my own lacking abilities to bring life forth to His, it is trusting that He, the one who dreamed me up before the beginning of the earth, who delicately knit me together in my mother’s womb and who has never left me can do it better than I can.
Authority-The Good Shepherds authority fends off the enemies and predators in our lives (at times even our own wrong mindsets and beliefs) He brings forth His life in us to the fullest extent as he has always intended. Me yielding to the good shepherds’ authority is simply believing that He alone can care for me best.
He continually persuades us of the truth of His character so that we can understand what His desire is and what true ownership and authority look like under His loving care.
Psalms 23:1-The Lord is my Shepherd I lack nothing.