Originally posted 2015-11-22 08:00:14.
I know I told you all I’d talk a bit about the arguments for God’s existence and I will, eventually. However, today is not that day. I’m the kind of guy who needs to feel an inspiration for something in order to get into something. Fortunately I’ve been inspired. Back at Christmas of 2013, my Mother-in-Law gave me a book. I’m an avid reader and I’m somewhat ashamed to admit that I just started reading it seriously today. The book is titled A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 and it was written by W. Phillip Keller. If you are unfamiliar with Psalm 23 it starts with “The LORD is my shepherd…..” I’ll attach a link at the end of this for anyone who is interested in reading the whole passage.
I’m not entirely sure why it took me almost two years to begin to read this book in earnest. Actually, that’s not true. I know why it took me so long to get into this book. Mr. Keller used to be an actual shepherd; meaning he had a flock of sheep once upon a time and he sees the similarities between the flock he had to the flock we are. And like The Good News from Jesus, drawing comparisons between us and sheep, well it’s quite insulting. And just like anything else, if you’re not ready to hear it; you’re not going to want to hear it. Admittedly I’m not very far into the book, I just started it today and I’ve got a few other on the go right now but this is one of the things that jumped out at me.
“It is no accident that God has chosen to call us sheep. The behavior of sheep and human beings is similar in many ways as will be seen in further chapters. Our mass mind (or mob instincts), our fears and timidity, our stubbornness and stupidity, our perverse habits are all parallels of profound importance.
Yet despite these adverse characteristics Christ chooses us, buys us, calls us by name, makes us His own, and delights in caring for us.”
Offended yet? I know I was, the author just told me I was a hard-headed, scaredy cat, imbecile and I was loaded down with bad habits. He goes further to say that bad habits can get a sheep killed later on in the book. When I first got this book, I was a brand new believer. Having my face rubbed into just how terrible I am, wasn’t much fun. Honestly, it still isn’t much fun but I’m better able to look at it objectively and realize there is a whole lot of truth written into those two paragraphs alone. I understand that it’s meant to point us in a proper direction and not meant as ridicule or to heap scorn on top of my head.
I can think of a multitude of areas where I exhibit not only one but most if not all of these undesirable traits. But there is one in particular that comes to mind and we seem to have two “flocks” regarding this issue. I’m a Canadian and our Government has pledged to bring in 25,000 refugees from Syria prior to January 1, 2016. There are some thoughts that these refugees may be housed in military bases and my family lives fairly close to one. I am somewhat ashamed to say that I have some reservations regarding this. And I’m also slightly aggravated that those of us who have these reservations are refereed to quite frequently as “bigots” , “haters” and “Islamaphobes”.
Generally speaking, I don’t like to be in the middle ground when it comes to a conflict. The most important reason for this is that I’m a firm believer if you stand in that middle ground, you’re going to get run over by the two parties involved in the “discussion”. Unfortunately that seems to be where I find myself; stuck between two stampeding flocks of frightened and stubborn sheep.
One the one side I see and hear of people who don’t want to bring any of these refugees to our country. There are a myriad of arguments against it ranging from “There may be terrorists concealed in the masses of refugees !”to “We need to take care of our own homeless and poor first!” And just about every other point in between. I’m no expert on this, but I’d think it was safe to say that the majority of the folks that are coming here have had it way worse in the last three years than anything we can contemplate here in Canada. I’d say this “flock” may be terrified at the prospect of harm coming to their areas when these people start arriving. I would also say that the argument that we should be helping our own first is probably coming from an area of stubbornness, if it was really that great of an issue; we most likely wouldn’t have it. Keep in mind that these statements are generalizations from Facebook posts and news article comments I’ve read and are meant to convey a part of the sentiment that I’ve observed.
The other extreme that I’ve noticed over the past couple of weeks is the side that says “You’re hateful if you have any misgivings!” I’d again have to say this is an example of our stubbornness. If you don’t agree with everything I say then you are intolerant. I’m going to have to disagree with that and say that if I don’t agree with you it simply means that we disagree. And I understand for the most part that the folks that are coming across with this line of thinking probably mean well. They want to see these people safe, secure and free of the fear of impeding death. I see where they’re coming from as well. The need or want to do the “right thing” is very powerful, which brings me to where I find myself sitting in this debate if we can call it that.
For me, I feel like the panic-stricken sheep that doesn’t know what to do. Deep down I know there is probably very little to fear in all of this. The people who are coming over here have had their credentials carefully checked and double checked. Stories have been verified and all that kind of thing. I understand that we’re supposed to take care of our fellow-man and by man I mean women and children as well. Scripture also advises us to take care of refugees, if you don’t believe me you can look it up. So I’m torn. I know what I’m supposed to do; but I’m afraid to do it. There are a million “what if’s” running through my mind and because of that, I can’t move.
So what do I do? Well we started off looking at Psalm 23. And it tells me “The LORD is my Shepherd”, Jesus called Himself The Good Shepherd. Shepherd’s protect their flock and guide them. If the flock follows a skilled shepherd, they’ll be okay. Jesus wasn’t just good, He was perfect. That being said and not to sound cliché but I believe we need to ask ourselves one question.