This Sunday's Old Testament Lesson, Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24 was fascinating to me. It seems to me that God wants to protect His children from bullies. It also sounds a little bit like sometimes, WE sheep ARE those bullies. Makes you wonder (& worry) sometimes whether you're a sheep or a goat (Matthew 25:31-46).
I say, when in doubt, try being humble and putting other people first. And since we all get things wrong, I say better to fault on the side of the Gospel than on the side of the Law. Does that make me a "Gospel Reductionist?" Then I'll "sin boldly," on the side of grace.
11 " 'For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. 12 As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness... 15 I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign LORD. 16 I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice...
20 " 'Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says to them: See, I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. 21 Because you shove with flank and shoulder, butting all the weak sheep with your horns until you have driven them away, 22 I will save my flock, and they will no longer be plundered. I will judge between one sheep and another.