Just Walk Away

“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” declares the LORD.  ~ Jeremiah 2:31

Just walk away
Just say goodbye
Don’t turn around now you may see me cry
I mustn’t fall apart
Or show my broken heart…

~ Just Walk Away, Celine Dion

Sheep – Christians – are being scattered everywhere in our times. It doesn’t matter the stripe or label of church calling itself by the name “Christian.”  The steps and front walk of many of these places are covered with the invisible footprints  and tears of those departing, never to come back.

It doesn’t matter whether the “pastor” or “shepherd” of the flock wears cargo shorts and a Sponge Bob t-shirt or elaborate vestments with gold thread. The effect is the same. It doesn’t matter whether the musicians perform rap, funk and groove, Getty songs or  sacred works by Bach and Palestrina.  Too many are heading for the exits.

The sheep are being scattered any number of ways. Whether it’s  a superfluity of gaggatory self-help sermons (what is the point?), political rants of one kind or another, blatant apostasy, legalism of one brand or another, pride-filled intellectualism or doctrinal strip-tease (Hey, get a load of this, baby, look how much of so and so I can quote from memory!), or, underlying all of the above, a total absence of Christian love and concern. In any event,  the sheep are getting scattered to the four winds.

No church could possibly be perfect. That would end the moment we walk in. But, I suppose it isn’t too much to ask that people actually care about one another, not too unreasonable to think that a stranger in the midst should be embraced rather than shunned for any meaningful interaction. I don’t think it’s too much to ask that someone staunch the bleeding on a fellow sheep when it’s been made apparent. Normally, shepherds would be concerned at the sight of an injury, or at least would assign an assistant to cleanse the wound and patch it up. Normally.

The exodus.  Scattered, sad sheep headed down the drive without an earthly shepherd to visit a hospital bed, to stop by a home where there is clearly suffering or spiritual crisis. Traveling to a symposium or conference? Not a problem for these faux shepherds.  Traveling anywhere that asks for their vast knowledge?  Not too much. Traveling to a troubled household where there is pain? No. I’ve seen it firsthand. I’ve lived it.  Scatterers. They don’t care.

These days, the comfort comes to the scattered sheep where they can huddle together for warmth and encouragement The Scatterer Shepherds make themselves irrelevant. Needs get met in other ways.  They have to be. Broken sheep to broken sheep. That’s where most of it takes place.  Most Scatterers don’t even notice the departing. They are on to their next project. Doubling down in their spiritual malpractice–complacent, prideful and wicked, every one of them.

Woe is a strong word. In the original language, it was meant to be a curse. Woe to those who scatter the sheep of my flock, says the Lord. That’s how seriously God takes the scatterers.

This post is to remember the scattered sheep. The ones who once were hopeful that they had found a real shepherd, only to be disappointed. Again. The ones who limp away in the night, and nobody cares or even notices they are gone.

 At the end of the drive
Don’t look back.
There was nothing there to keep you,
No love to call you back.
Not a single person, not a single sad heart
will notice you are gone.
Don’t even bother to cry.
They are not worth a single tear.
Walk away. Just walk away.

5 thoughts on “Just Walk Away

  1. Denise says:

    Well stated, Ingrid. This stuff is is probably so common these days, no one gives it a second thought. After nine years in our church, the whole thing turned out to be a sham. It is heartbreaking. No amount of discussion could change what’s happening. If the church becomes the pastor’s domain instead of Jesus Christ’s, it ceases to be a church. Moving on.

  2. healinginhim says:

    God bless you, Ingrid for remembering and reaching out to the many, many scattered sheep.
    “Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” declares the LORD. ~ Jeremiah 2:31 –YES, LORD!–

  3. Carolyn says:

    Ingrid,

    More aptly spoken words about a mournful, but all-too-common situation in today’s church. It is very true that those who have been scattered end up ministering to one another. That is often the ONLY way the Love of Christ is shown.

  4. terriergal says:

    So grievous. It’s especially bad when you leave an oppressive situation, because some preacher or teacher very rightly showed you the error of that situation — only to find yourself in another one courtesy of that same preacher/teacher. I’ve seen it too many times.

  5. Warwick Thorpe says:

    Remember that our Jesus is “God’s Shepherd David” foretold in Ezekiel 34…. and woe to those shepherds who feed on the sheep rather than feeding the sheep and woe to the Fat sheep who trample the lean ones in their haste to use church to satisfy their own stomachs… because the Good shepherd of John 10 identifies Jesus as that Shepherd and its the lean sheep not the rest that he rescues…. A time is coming when those who have been scattered will be looked for and found by the Lord, set free and healed and gathered to himself by himself since the church only scatters… and he will lead that remnant to safety as babylon approaches for the rest…. Dont let anyone call you Rabbi… you have one teacher (Jesus the WORD) so follow him and none of these self appointed wolves … look for the scattered and be active in encouraging them back, not to church, to Jesus. In your home or whatever the Lord provides but somewhere the fat sheep dont have the keys for.. then you will be coworkers with the Good Shepherd and not merely victims of the fat sheep and their ring masters… Shalom

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