Sheep, wolves and sheepdogs

I updated this in light of the current gun debate and added some thoughts on the spiritual parallels.

A now-defunct blog made some important distinctions between three types of people:

  • Sheep, the “kind, decent people who are not capable of hurting each other, except by accident or under extreme provocation. They are sheep. I mean nothing negative by calling them sheep.”
  • Wolves, who “feed on the sheep without mercy.  Do you believe there are wolves out there who will feed on the flock without mercy? You better believe it. There are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget that or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep. There is no safety in denial.”
  • Sheepdogs, who “live to protect the flock and confront the wolf.”

“If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen, a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath, a wolf.

But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? What do you have then? A sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero’s path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed.”

I’m against war and violence in general, but there are times when it is required.  I find pure pacifism to be unrealistic and actually unloving in many cases.  Note that when I say pacifist I am using the definition of “a person who is opposed to war or to violence of any kind” (emphasis added)

In this metaphor, there is nothing wrong with being sheep.  What is wrong is the naive assumption that we will ever be able to live without sheepdogs.  One thing that bothers me about some pacifists is not only their lack of gratitude but their contempt for those who protect them.

A thought from George Orwell:

We sleep safely in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence upon those who would do us harm.

There is a spiritual parallel as well.  Consider all the wolves in sheep’s clothing who eternally danger people with their lies about God.  Not everyone is equipped to battle those wolves, but some of us have worked hard to know how to refute their lies.  We don’t expect everyone to do what we do, but we do appreciate it when people don’t blame us for being “divisive” or some such thing.  We tend to be intrinsically motivated, though I will say that I get the nicest notes from time to time from people who agree completely with the views here but are too afraid to say so publicly.  I’m fine with that.  It is nice to know that they pray and are supportive.

9 thoughts on “Sheep, wolves and sheepdogs”

  1. Thanks, I really needed the spiritual parallel explanation. I think far too many people want to say things like, “you are being un-Christian” whenever I stand for an unpopular truth (like my arguments against the pope yesterday.) Funny, but the one making the accusation, accused me of going to the Bible and making it say whatever I wanted to say. I can honestly say he has no idea what it means to be a Christian, and one charged with protecting and heralding the truth.


    1. I wrote this a few weeks back as an update to an old post, but the spiritual part is vital and ties to your recent Facebook comments. We are to be good ambassadors for Christ, but that doesn’t mean to be “nice” and agree with the world. We must accurately reflect what our Savior says as best we can.


      1. I believe the term “nice” had done more damage to those who proclaim the truth than any other term. The problem is that it isn’t ever used to describe the Christian.


      2. I think the pressure to not offend and to be “nice” and play well with others is a devil’s tool.


  2. My only response to this is that sheep have a responsibility for their own self defense too. No human-being truly is a sheep. And I always think of the old saying “When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.” (This of course is in the none spiritual sense.

    Neil you really hit on an important topic. And that is your comment about being a pure pacifist is actually an unloving stance. TRUTH!! One of the biggest problems in our society today is that as a whole society has lost focus on what TRUE love is. Is true love tolerating the sin in the lives of those around us, quietly not voicing concerns, and allowing them to endanger their earthly and spiritual lives?

    Or is true love being bold enough to stand up for right, and try to bring others to the knowledge that they are dead in their sins?

    Our society would say telling someone they are in the wrong, and in danger of hell, is unloving. I argue that the opposite is true, and believe I have Biblical basis for my argument.


    1. Exactly. True love is putting the interests of others over your own, and having their long-term best interests at heart. That means speaking the the truth even if it makes you unpopular.

      Good point about sheep having some responsibility in the matter.


  3. I like your article, but would offer this one thought: While the sheepdog can walk into the darkeness, it does not come through unscathed. There are always battle scars of one kind or another


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