Last Wednesday and Thursday we were thinking about the relationship between sheep and shepherds. One of the things we have established is that to be a true shepherd you have to care for sheep. One of the hardest experiences of being a shepherd is to have demonstrated care for the sheep and then to have had one or more of those sheep bite you back. Often the bite comes from behind and you are unsuspectingly assaulted by those you have cared for.
As I consider my own ministry I don’t profess to have got everything right. Certainly not! There are those I failed in so many ways. And my care has not always been what it should have been. But to have those you have cared for and given time to start to bad-mouth you is painful. To have them say things that are not true is hard.
Then I am led to ponder on our Lord Jesus and to think about all that he went through in His ministry. Consider these words from Psalm 41:9 prophetically on the lips of our Saviour:-
Even my close friend,
someone I trusted,
one who shared my bread,
has turned against me.
What was it for our Saviour who had cared for Judas over those years of His ministry to have him bite him back. Such heartache and such pain.
But then we must consider further the response of our Saviour so as to be equipped to respond well ourselves. We read that When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly (1 Pet. 2:23). We must seek the enabling of our Lord Jesus to have this same mind. Oh Lord help me to be godly when the sheep bite back.