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We have the responsibility to build up and encourage those God has placed under our care. But this duty also includes defending them from harm, whether from themselves or from others. And it’s a disservice to merely feed their souls without also protecting them in their time of need.

Perhaps this is easiest to see in parenting. From the very beginning we have to protect kids from themselves, as they’re prone to wander into dangerous situations completely unaware. And as they get older, we must then guard against the many growing influences from the outside – protecting their bodies, hearts, and minds. This might mean being selective of their peer group, the entertainment they consume, and who gets to speak into their lives.

Of course, we don’t want to shelter them and leave them unprepared to live in a dangerous world. But this doesn’t mean we invite the wolves to spend the night – setting up camp and building a stronghold in their hearts. We offer defense of their behalf until they grow and mature to do so themselves.

And a similar role is required of us throughout the realm of our influence. In addition to our wife and kids, this might also include, for example, protecting our employees at work or coming to the defense of our neighbors.

To be sure, this is not merely picking a fight and becoming a bully however justified we feel. Rather, it’s not being naïve or Pollyannaish in our approach to life  – leaving those we’ve been charged to care for vulnerable to being taken out by evil.

We feed the sheep. And we’re prepared to go to battle on their behalf as well.

In the end, encourage and speak words of life to those God has placed under your care. And be willing to stand against anyone or anything that might cause them harm – courageously defending the sheep God has given you.

Photo by Jaka Škrlep on Unsplash

Dr. Corey Carlisle

Licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist - providing Christian counseling and soul care to individuals and couples, with a special emphasis on developing the masculine soul. Suwanee, GA 30024

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