Shepherding Broken Sheep

Shepherding God’s People Series:

  1. Shepherding God’s People – Overview
  2. Shepherding Weak Sheep
  3. Shepherding Sick Sheep
  4. Shepherding Broken Sheep
  5. Shepherding Lost Sheep

(Ezekiel 34:4,16; Zechariah 11:16, Psalm 147:3; Matthew 12:20)

Thank you for joining me for another edition of how we can better Shepherd God’s People. We’ve already covered the initial overview, Weak Sheep, and Sick Sheep, and today the lesson is on Broken Sheep.

Broken sheep are those who have been injured or wounded in some way. Sometimes the wound is a broken heart from the loss of a loved one in death, or even the death of one’s hopes and dreams. Sheep can be broken physically, but more often, they are broken emotionally, culturally, racially, economically, socially, or relationally. They need to be bandaged up and given a lot of TLC (tender loving care).

Others have had their WILL broken through the discipline of the Lord and need to be carried by the shepherd after their dislocated or broken legs are bound up. This is a wonderful picture of the shepherd carrying the broken sheep on his shoulders while the sheep and the shepherd mend together closer than ever.

Others have broken relationships that, apart from a third party (like a shepherd’s intervention), they are unlikely to be restored.

Shepherd’s Responsibility is to Bind Up the Broken

Let me share with you a few things you can do for your broken sheep…

1. Point them to Jesus (Psalm 34:18;147:3; Hebrews 12:2) The Bible teaches us that the Lord is near the broken-hearted. He also heals the broken-hearted and binds their wounds. We also know that Jesus focused on the joy set before him and endured the cross to bring reconciliation with the Father. Help your people to see past the pain of this moment in life and turn their eyes upon Jesus.

2. Pray that they would experience authentic peace. The Hebrew word “shalom” means peace, harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, welfare and tranquility, and can be used practically to mean both hello and goodbye among Jewish people. In the Bible, shalom is seen in reference to the well-being of others (Genesis 43:27, Exodus 4:18), to treaties (1 Kings 5:12), and in prayer for the well-being of cities or nations (Psalm 122:6, Jeremiah 29:7).

Jesus said, “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27). When Jesus meets his disciples after the resurrection, he continually says to them, “Peace” (John 20:19,21,26). Under these circumstances it is obvious that the term “peace” is extraordinarily full of meaning. We understand this peace in relation to three things: peace with God, peace with others, and peace with self. The key word for this reality in the Bible is, “reconciliation.”

Shalom is really a prayer, wishing that the one with whom you are interacting would have “nothing missing, nothing broken.”

3. Share Bible promises that provide hope (Romans 15:4; 8:28) and peace; (Isaiah 9:6; Judges 6:22-24a; Isaiah 26:3-4; Philippians 4:6-7). We have hope through the encouragement we find in the Scriptures. We also have hope when we recognize that whatever life is throwing at us, God is still in charge and working things out behind the scenes. This hope is what can also bring peace, after all, Jesus is the Prince of Peace. When peace is present, fear is cast away. When we totally rely upon God, anxiety fades and the peace that passes all comprehension resides inside of the believer.

4. Expose them to biographies and testimonies of other Christians that aren’t just survivors but are champions because of God’s grace (2 Corinthians 12:9-10 – Joni Eareckson-Tada, Chuck Colson, and stories of the persecuted church around the world – I love the book and film, “the Insanity of God” by Nik Ripkin).

5. Help them to adopt an eternal perspective. Check out 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 – That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. Adopt an eternal perspective. See life from God’s point of view.

6. Assist them to recognize their condition – 2 Corinthians 12:20-21; 13:5; Luke 24:47; Romans 5:17; 10:9-10; John 1:12-13; Romans 5:1,3; 2 Thessalonians 2:13

I have included in the notes several passages of Scripture describing the way we are, even believers who need rebuke at times. Here a just two…

In 2 Corinthians 12:2-21, Paul says, For I am afraid that when I come I won’t like what I find, and you won’t like my response. I am afraid that I will find quarreling, jealousy, anger, selfishness, slander, gossip, arrogance, and disorderly behavior. 21 Yes, I am afraid that when I come again, God will humble me in your presence. And I will be grieved because many of you have not given up your old sins. You have not repented of your impurity, sexual immorality, and eagerness for lustful pleasure.

Paul also challenges these believers to examine themselves to see if they are even of the faith – Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). This is such a good policy to run a diagnostic on your spiritual life to make sure you are more than just a cultural Christian. We need to be genuine and sold out for Jesus!

The Bible is also full of passages that reveal to us that forgiveness of sin is totally available and possible – check the notes below to read all these passages related to encouragement.

7. When you find someone to be addicted to something, offer to help them get into a nurturing group, like a support or recovery group. We cannot be so proud that we don’t seek help when we need it. Two wonderful verses are…

  • James 4:6; And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.
  • 2 Timothy 2:22; Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.

To recognize the point when we need help is a sign of maturity. As shepherds, look out for your flock and lead them to get necessary help when they need. Help them to recognize their need before it is too late. I’ve included a list of the type of groups that may be needed, below in the notes.

So, how will you get involved in the life of your broken sheep?

  1. Know your adults. Understand their situation, observe their lives and their relationships, their family situation.
  2. Know your allies. You don’t have to minister to your broken sheep by yourself. Find resources that can help you minister to your flock. Resources can be support groups, pastoral help, counselors, books or pamphlets, helpful videos you’ve seen, helpful websites you’ve discovered.
  3. Know your arsenal. Remember that God loves your broken sheep more than you do, and YOU don’t bind broken on your own, we all need help from God. So, pray for discernment, insight, wisdom, and success to bind up the broken.

Thank you for your concern from your sheep, and may God continue to bless you and your people as you learn how to better shepherd God’s people.

Support Group Types: [ Local List of Community Groups ]

  • Chemical Dependency
  • Codependency
  • Sexual Addictions
  • Substance Abuse
  • Homosexuality
  • Alcohol Anonymous (AA)
  • Celebrate Recovery
  • Addictive Behaviors
  • Divorce Care
  • GriefShare
  • Early onset Parkinson’s
  • Epilepsy Support for Parents
  • Marriage and Parenting Groups

Related Topics Regarding Broken Sheep:

  1. Abandonment: 1 Samuel 12:22; Isaiah 43:2; Romans 8:38-39; Hebrews 13:5b
  2. Burdens: Psalm 55:22; Matthew 11:28-30
  3. Contentment: Philippians 4:11-13; 1 Timothy 6:6-8; Hebrews 13:5
  4. Courage: Psalm 27:14; 31:24
  5. Death: Psalm 23:4,6; Proverbs 3:21-26; 14:32; 1 Corinthians 15:54-58; 2 Corinthians 5:1-11; Philippians 1:21,23; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Hebrews 2:14,15; 9:27; Revelation 21:4
  6. Discouragement/ Depression: Genesis 4:6,7; Psalm 32,38,51; Psalm 42:5; Proverbs 18:14; 2 Corinthians 1:1-11; 4:8,9
  7. Dysfunctional Family
    1. Husband/Wife: Genesis 2:18-25; Malachi.2:14; Ephesians 5:22-33; Colossians.3:18-21; 1 Peter 3: 1-7; 1 Timothy 2:11-15
    2. Parent/Child: Genesis 2:24; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Proverbs 17:6; 22:6; Malachi 4:6; 2 Corinthians 12:14; Ephesians 6:1-4; Colossians 3:20-21; 1 Timothy 3:4-5
    3. Friendship: Proverbs 16:28; 17:9,17; 18:24; 19:4,6,7; 22:11; 27:6,9,10,14; John 15:13-15
    4. Singleness: Genesis 2:21-23; Proverbs 18:22; 31:10; Matthew 19:12; 1 Corinthians 7:6-9,32-35
  8. Disgrace: Isaiah 50:7
  9. Divorce: Deuteronomy 24:1-4; Malachi 2:14; Mark 10:11,12; Luke 16:18; 1 Corinthians 7:10-12
  10. Doubt: James 1:6-8
  11. Elderly Parents: Exodus 20:12; Matthew 15:4-6; John 19:26-27; 1 Timothy 5:8,16
  12. Elderly: Psalm 23:6; 37:25; 71:17-18; 92:14; 119:28; Proverbs 3:2; 16:31; 20:19; Isaiah 46:4
  13. Employment / Unemployment: Genesis 2:5-15; 3:17-19; Proverbs 14:23; 18:9; 21:5; 22:39; 24:27; 31:10-31; 1 Corinthians 15:58; Colossians 3:22-24; 1 Thessalonians :11; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15
  14. Evil (Overcoming): Proverbs 25:21-22; Romans 12:14-21; 1 Peter 3:12-13
  15. Faith: Mark 9:24; Romans 4:20-21; 10: 17; 15: 13; Hebrews 11: 1-40; John 14: 1
  16. Fear: Genesis 3:1O; Deuteronomy 31:8; Psalm 23:4-5; 27:1-3; 56:11; 91:4-7; Proverbs 3:2526; 10:24; 29:25; Isaiah 41:10,13; 54:14; Matthew 10:28; Luke 12:4-11; 2 Timothy 1:7; Hebrews 2:14-15; 1 Peter 3:6,13,14; 1 John 4:18; Revelation 2:10
  17. Forgiving (others): Proverbs 17:9; Matthew 6:14,15; 18:21-35; Mark 11:25; Luke 17:3-10; Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13
  18. Grief / Comfort: Psalm 119:28; 50: Isaiah 49:13b; Matthew 5:4; 2 Corinthians 1:3-4; 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
  19. Help: Psalm 121:1-2; Isaiah 41:10; Hebrews 4:15-16
  20. Hope: Psalm 25:5; 31:34; 33:18,28; 39:7; 42:5; Proverbs 10:28; 13:12; Romans 15:4,5,13; 1 Thessalonians 1:3; 4:13-18; 1 Timothy 4:10; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 6:11,18,19; 1 Peter 1:3
  21. Humility: Proverbs 16: 19; 22:4; 29:23; 2 Corinthians 12:9-1O; Hebrews 4:15-16; 12: 15; 1 Peter 5:6-7
  22. Patience: Romans 5:3-5; Galatians 5:22; Hebrews 6:12; James 1:3-4; 5:7-11
  23. Peace (with others): Psalm 37:37; Proverbs 16:7; Romans 12:18; 14:17-19; 1 Corinthians 14:33a; 2 Corinthians 13:11; Hebrews 12:14; James 3:16-18
  24. Peace: (inner): Psalm 4:8; 119:165; Proverbs 3:1,2; Isaiah 26:3,12; John 14:27; 16:33; Romans 5:1; 8:6; 16:20; Philippians 4:6-7; Colossians 3:15
  25. Protection: Exodus 23:22; Deuteronomy 33:27; 1 Samuel 2:9; Psalm 3:3; 61:3; Isaiah 43:2; 59:19; Zephaniah 3:17;
  26. Reconciliation: Matthew 5:23-24; 18:15-17; Luke 17:3-10; 1 Corinthians 7:10-11; 2 Timothy 3:3
  27. Strength: 2 Chronicles 16:9; 29:12; ; Nehemiah 8:10; Psalm 10:17; 27:14; 29:11; 31:24; Isaiah 40:31; 41:10; Ephesians 3:16; Philippians 4:13; Colossians 1:11; Hebrews 13:9; 1 Peter 5: 10
  28. Thoughts: Proverbs 23:7; Isaiah 26:3; Matthew 15:19; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Philippians 4:8
  29. Trials / Trouble: Psalm 34:17; 43:2; 46:1; Nahum 1:7; Romans 5:3-4; 1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Corinthians 1:3-4; James 1:2-5,12; 1 Peter 1:6-7; 4:12-13
  30. Wait on the Lord: Psalm 27:14; 37:7; 40: 1; Isaiah 40:31; Lamentations 3:26; Romans 8:25
  31. Weeping: Psalm 30:5
  32. Worry: Proverbs 12:25; 14:30; 17:22; Matthew 6:24-34; Philippians 4:6-7; 1 Peter 5:6-7
  33. Widows: Deuteronomy 10:18; Psalm 68:5; Proverbs 15:25; Psalm 146:9; Jeremiah 49:11; 1 Timothy 5:3-16; James 1:27

Credit for the original teaching goes to my
mentor, teacher, and friend, Rick Leineweber.

Spread the Community, Faith, Love

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