As a youthful pastor in the early days of my ministry, I took a long walk in a Michigan woods with a trusted and admired friend, Ken Hanson, seeking counsel from a wise layman. We discussed many things, but his one word that has marked my ministry most was this: “Don, don’t beat the sheep.” That encounter led me to a study of the Lord as Shepherd — He knows His sheep and gently leads those with young: He restores their souls, and leads in paths of righteousness.
Most come to worship services battle-worn and weary, needing encouragement and communion more than criticism. If the Word of God is faithfully and lovingly taught, the Holy Spirit may be trusted to do His corrective work. Nowhere in the Bible are shepherds instructed to beat the sheep. A word of wisdom to all who teach, preach, or lead: DON’T BEAT THE SHEEP!