The false shepherds are more concerned about their salary, their reputation, about structures, administration and the success of the group than about people and their inner growth and freedom. They use people because of their need to have power and control over them, and to prove that they are superior. They seem frightened of personal contact and hide behind rules and regulations. They prevent others from growing to freedom and taking initiative. They are hard on weaker people and lack compassion. They do not seek to understand people but tend to judge and condemn others. In the face of conflict they leave people lost and alone, not knowing what to do. They are closed up in their needs.
To become a good shepherd is to come out of the shell of selfishness in order to be attentive to those for whom we are responsible so as to reveal to them their fundamental beauty and value and to help them to grow and become fully alive. ~J. Vanier, Drawn into the Mystery of Jesus through the Gospel of John
Jesus frees us from the small cell of self love and focus. As he has loved us at great cost to self, so we too are freed from being closed in on our own needs and in him we can be attentive to the needs of others and love them for their good…even at great expense to self. It’s not easy to do, but when we really believe that our Good Shepherd loves us greatly and his promise to lead us to a place where we do not want (Ps.23.1) is a sure and strong promise.
To what and whom will be attentive today?
Free from self love is to be free indeed.
This month I’m participating with The Nester in her 31 Days challenge to write every day on a topic of choice. I’m writing this month on how Jesus make us free.