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Sheep and goats

The Bible says there are two types of people — sheep and goats. Sheep are those who have trusted Jesus as their Lord and Savior and act like it. Goats stubbornly reject Jesus, His mercy, grace and go their own way, which leads to destruction.

The modern world depicts sheep as being stupid, defenseless, docile, harmless and easily fooled creatures that don’t think for themselves. Sound familiar? It’s not by accident that the world (the mainstream media, Hollywood, academia and some politicians) depict devout Christians this way too; they also project their failures and sins on us, calling Christians and their other opponents racists, bigots, xenophobes, warmongers, etc.

As it turns out, nothing could be farther from the truth. Sheep are very kind, trusting intelligent team players. Nevertheless, many think sheep are dumb because they always seem to be following a herd mentality or blindly following the commands of their shepherd, etc. The truth is sheep do follow their shepherd’s leading and commands, but not necessarily “blindly.”

Sheep follow their shepherd out of faith tested by experience. Sheep learn to trust implicitly their shepherd. They are very relational and obedient to their shepherd, especially when he has proven his commitment to them and trustworthiness time and time again.

Characteristics of sheep versus goats

Historically, scientifically, observationally and through Jesus’ teachings ... these things all show us that sheep are keen recognizers of their shepherd’s voice and respond accordingly. Goats do not. Goats are often stubborn.

Individual sheep have the ability to recognize, keep track of and distinguish (all at once) more than 50 different faces, facial cues (smiling, frowning, etc.) and vocal cues. Goats do not.

Sheep have long memories. If a predator (another animal, human or bully sheep) tries to harm or distresses a sheep, that sheep for self defense purposes will remember the offender’s face and features for better than two years.

Sheep run towards their shepherd, especially during times of distress and danger. Goats do not.

Sheep stick together as a defensive mechanism. Sheep are social animals and protect each other and stick together in times of danger. Goats do not.

Sheep move to safety, higher ground and well lit areas for safety. Goats do not.

Sheep, especially male rams will run head long charging danger with their curled horns to defend their herd. They are willing lay down their lives for the heard Goats are not herd defense oriented, but will defend themselves. Christian men are called not to be ignorant to what’s happening in our dark, dangerous politically correct culture. This is so that when needed men must go to the sound of gun fire (i.e., Jack Wilson in Texas church), charging the gates of hell (the enemy, darkness, the public arena, etc.) with training, truth, Jesus and weaponry to defend the herd.

Although goats may be curious and somewhat charming, they often times move by themselves as loners and destroy anything and everything in their path including fences, vegetation and other structures.

Sheep typically are not destroyers of property. Goats are. Ask sheep and goat farmers to confirm.

Sheep act intelligent as far as animals go. Goats do not.

Historically, devil worshipers, worshiper of self and worshipers of pleasure have used goat like physical characteristics (e.g., horns and goat-like faces) to depict themselves.

Bottom line: Are you a sheep, or a goat? Do you unashamedly “sheepishly” follow God’s leading and direction in your life by listening to Him and following accordingly, or are you a goat who aimlessly, stubbornly and blindly wonders through life ignoring God’s voice, which figuratively, practically and ultimately leads to destruction.

Goats are blind to good leadership and biblical teaching; sheep are not. Sheep practice principles, which over time have passed the test of time in proving their wisdom, practical application and success for life. For example, they practice personal and herd responsibility; don’t depend on bullies or the government for their sustenance. Sheep are team players, very protective and loyal to each other while obedient and attentive to their shepherd. Sheep are not destructive; they use resources wisely.

Here’s what Jesus says about sheep.

“Truly, truly, I tell you, whoever does not enter the sheepfold by the gate, but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber. But the one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen for his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; they will flee from him because they do not recognize his voice.” Jesus spoke to them using this illustration, but they did not understand what He was telling them. So He said to them again, ”Truly, truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before Me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. If anyone enters through Me, he will be saved. He will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and have it in all its fullness.”

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd, and the sheep are not his own. When he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf pounces on them and scatters the flock. The man runs away because he is a hired servant and is unconcerned for the sheep.”

I am the good shepherd. I know My sheep and My sheep know Me, just as the Father knows Me and I know the Father. And I lay down My life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them in as well, and they will listen to My voice. Then there will be one flock and one shepherd.” — John 10:1-16

“My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them out of My hand. My Father who has given them to Me is greater than all. No one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” — John 10:27-30

Let’s act like sheep. Learn to hear God’s voice speaking to our hearts today. When we do what Jesus, the Good Shepherd, leads us to do, we’ll find clarity, peace, joy and rest for our weary souls.

David Ellison is a retired United States. military veteran with more than 26 years of military experience in the United States Air Force (AD) and South Carolina Army National Guard. He is the director of Vets for Jesus (V4J) in Georgetown, S.C., working to serve, disciple and mentor U.S. Armed Forces veterans. For more information and upcoming events, please visit his Facebook page, Vets for Jesus. He may be reached via email at

V4J is not affiliated with the govt. or any denomination. V4J is not a “501(c)(3)”org. Views expressed here are those of the writer (Ellison) and are not sponsored, approved or endorsed by the U.S. Dept. of Defense.

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The Carolina Compass is designed to appeal to the faithful as well as the seeker, giving historical windows into church life and showing the hands and feet of the faithful doing good works in their communities. We shall also shine a light on worldwide persecution of Christians and how we can support the faithful. A wide variety of perspectives on faith, mission work and healing will be inside the paper. Christian correspondents come from all over the globe and up and down our coast.
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