Wounded by the Righteous

“There is no deeper pathos in the spiritual life of man than the cruelty of righteous people.”

Reinhold Niebuhr, An Interpretation of Christian Ethics. 1956.

Good, godly, well intentioned, “righteous” Christians (usually leaders) hurt and wound others in Christian community. Why am I writing this? 4 reasons:

  1. To remind myself that as an older Christian leader, it is so easy for me to wound others, beginning with my wife and children, not to mention members of my Christian community.
  2. To appeal to Christian leaders to take personal responsibility for hurting/wounding their flock, even if they “never intended to.”
  3. To empathize with the wounded, and pray that they may extend mercy to those who have wounded them in the name of Christ.
  4. To see Christ’s wounds in our own woundedness.

How and why are the righteous “cruel” when they should love others as Christian leaders? My very limited answer is based entirely on my observations as a Christian in UBF over the last 30 years.

Christian leaders believe it is their right and duty to correct/train others. 2 Tim 3:16 says that Scripture is profitable for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. Through Scripture the Holy Spirit teaches, rebukes, corrects and trains Christians. But sometimes Christian leaders think that it is their job to do the work of the Holy Spirit, thereby over-stepping their bounds of authority.

Christian leaders emphasize their good intentions. If and when confronted about their “cruelty,” they might become defensive. Next, they express their good intentions in trying to help and serve others. Though this may be true, such statements never console any person wounded by them.

Christian leaders are relatively “blind” to their own self-righteousness. Every Christian without exception sees more clearly the faults/sins of others, rather than their own (Mt 7:3-4), including Christian leaders.

Christian leaders act/think as though they are “above” their flock. In UBF we love the verses about shepherding/shepherds (Ac 20:28; 1 Pet 5:2; Jn 10:11, 21:15-17). This has led some shepherds to think, feel or act as though they are “above” their sheep with extra clout, power and authority.

Christian leaders do not reveal their own specific weaknesses, while pointing out the specific weaknesses of others. How unfortunate to hear a Christian leader say, “He’s unthankful.” Does this not also apply to him or her before God?

Christian leaders do not clearly confess their own specific sins while expecting and encouraging their members to sincerely repent of their sins. In Life Together, Bonhoeffer spends a whole chapter stressing the importance of sin confession by all.

Christian leaders credit themselves for their sacrifice and hard work, while blaming others for the ministry’s lack of progress. This just crushes people and guilt trips them.

Christian leaders speak/act condescendingly. No one likes to be told rather than asked, commanded rather than persuaded (giving them no choice), spoken down to, screamed at, yelled at, etc. No one ever forgets someone who blew up at them.

Christian leaders fail to adequately condescend/incarnate themselves. This is humanly impossible for everyone, including the Christian leader. But without the condescension of the leader, no authentic Christian community can result. Likewise, without Jesus’ condescension (Phil 2:5-8), we’re all dead.

Christian leaders do not let go of control. As a result, people feel controlled and not led by God.

Christian leaders do not welcome critique, while critiquing others. This causes an unhealthy one way top down communication from leader to member. Such shepherding results in spiritual abuse, which is bullying. Such authoritarian leadership is unhealthy leadership that Jesus warns against (Mk 10:42-44).

Biblical commands do not change people; only the gospel changes people (2 Cor 3:18), for the imperatives are based on the indicatives and the order is not reversible.

Wounded persons find it hard to love. Wounded people mainly wound others. Only Jesus’ wounds heals us (1 Pet 2:24; Isa 53:5; Ps 103:1-3), both “shepherds” and “sheep.”


  1. Thanks, Ben! Well said.

  2. Excellent points Ben.  I could not agree more.

  3. I don’t like the word “christian” before “leaders”. They are not christian, as they are not “righteous”. They are just UBF leaders, and “what is UBF?” is a big question (like “To stay or not to stay?”). And coming back to the “demon possessed” UBF founder-leader, I don’t think that the Holy Spirit could use a demon possessed man to raise a christian church. The Bible teaches me that “a tree is recognized by its fruit” and that “neither can a salt spring produce fresh water”. UBF problems are not common christian churches problems. The UBF problem is that it is not christian. You write “But sometimes Christian leaders think that it is their job to do the work of the Holy Spirit, thereby over-stepping their bounds of authority”. The reality is that “But always UBF leaders think that…”. No place for the Holy Spirit means no place for Christ and for “christian”. And coming back to Maria’s comments on UBF and Friendship… She cried a lot while in an abusive chapter and took her children out of such chapters to her own chapter. It seems that the best way to understand what kind of organisation is before you, is to answer a simple question: Do you want your children to be in this organisation? Maria and John (who are called “the best people” of Chicago UBF in a message of Ron W. on Acts 13) made their choice, so did I. I can trust my children and myself to Christ and good christians but I can’t trust such “good christians” of UBF like you write about, especially if some of them are “demon possessed” and wound and hurt and abuse… sometimes… So for me it is better to take the Apologetic Index advice “Our advice to Christians is not to get involved with the University Bible Fellowship”.

    • Hi Vitaly, 

      I was going to suggest to our admins that your comment above be removed, but I think it is ok for the comment to stay. We ought to discuss this openly. I believe Ben’s article is applicable broadly in Christianity and is not specific to UBF. However, since we are friends of UBF here, I think this warrants some discussion.

      First, your initial logic does not hold up. Ben’s phrase is correct, “Christian leader”, and it applies to many leaders in UBF. I am trying to avoid sweeping, broadstroke generalizations, but I know this is hard to do, and I’ve failed at times. But to say that there is no UBF leader who is a Christian leader is false. I’ve not been able to this well, but I do think we former members ought to avoid our own wounding of UBF members with our own righteousness. One of my goals is always to spark dialogue, and I realize that sometimes I ignite a fire unintentionally. (I’m working on that…)

      Second, was Samuel Lee demon-possessed? I will bash UBF with the bashiest…but I won’t say that. Samuel Lee was not demon-possessed. And although I do know there is a spiritual reality, and that Satan does run rampant when Christian leaders are focused on non-gospel activity, I will not agree that UBF is evil.  

      Third, you say “UBF problems are not common christian churches problems. The UBF problem is that it is not christian.” I think we should distinguish between UBF ideology and UBF people. The ideology of UBF does promote an unBiblical/unChristian ethos. Perhaps this is what you are referring to. And that ethos stems from a logos (doctrines) built on obedience and discipline instead of grace and truth. This then generates a pathos (community emotion) of guilt, fear and self-condemnation. 

      But to say that UBF people are not Christians is false. There are Christians in UBF. Often the people in UBF are taught the grace of God (forgiveness of sins in Jesus) correctly. The problem is then the people are bound to a human shepherd and taught a form of legalism with an elitist mindset.

      Legalism and elitism are indeed common problems among many Christian churches.  But this is all very complicated in the UBF context because UBF won’t commit to a specific theological position. UBF as an organization is committed only to ideological slogans. Perhaps you are referring to this. If so, then I understand you. And then you add the layers of cultural issues and the thing gets mind-boggling.

      The only way to make sense of all this is Jesus, and to stand on the grace of God. I’ll share more what I mean in reply to Ben’s article soon.

  4. Thanks, Vitaly. Christian leaders, like all other Christians, are sinners who sin in real ways. Their righteousness is based on Christ (Phil 3:9; 2 Cor 5:21), not their works, no matter how bad or “demon possessed.” I know this to be true for myself. To the extent that I am able to know, I am far worse than the worst thing anyone can ever think or say of me.

    I am not justifying or defending UBF or Lee’s authoritarian practices. But David, a man after God’s own heart, did “far worse” things: adultery, murder, count his fighting men which caused the death of 70,000 of his men (2 Sam 24:15). Yet he was righteous (Ps 18:24, 101:1-3, 103:12; Rom 4:6-8).

    I trust you have read what I had previously wrote about Lee: http://www.ubfriends.org/2011/01/why-samuel-lee-was-deified-and-demonized/

    Personally, I have no problem either way with my 4 children staying or leaving UBF. 2 stayed and 2 joined other churches. I praise and thank God for all of them.

    • One statement is troubling me a bit here: “But David, a man after God’s own heart, did far worse things [than Samuel Lee] … Yet he was righteous”.

      I agree that David did worse things, but my issue is that there are two important differences between Samuel Lee and King David: 1) David lived in the time of the OT and was appointed by God, whereas Samuel Lee lived under the NT and still ruled like a self-appointed king, and 2) David repented (http://www.case-studies.com/david3), while Samuel Lee never repented. (Allegedly he once claimed that he was “demon-possesed” when he did the bad things – that’s what Vitaliy alluded to – but I don’t know if it’s true, as he never confessed or repented openly.) I don’t want to arouse the old discussion about whether God forgave Samuel Lee again, but I still think it’s necessary to emphasize the one important point: confession and repentance.

    • Hi Chris,

      I think I understand to a degree that it is quite hard to approve of Lee, when many other leaders are autocratic like him, usually to a worse or more extreme degree, so that they may be far less gracious.

      I agree with you that Lee and other leaders should have repented publicly, or begin to repent and publicly acknowledge wrongdoing. However, a man is saved by faith in Christ, and not on the basis of whether or not he or they publicly repent. None of us, I don’t believe, ever repent perfectly, or repent publicly of all of our sins. If God expects and requires that, we’re all dead, especially me!

    • Ben, I don’t think that you can separate faith in Christ from repentance. Remember the sermons of John the baptist (Mt 3:2), Jesus (Mt 4:17), Peter (Acts 2:38, Acts 3:19) and Paul (Acts 26:20). They all focus on repentance. Jesus said explicitely (Lk 13:3) “But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” World mission is all about preaching repentance (Acts 17:30). How can the leader of a world mission organization refuse to repent? 1Jn 1:9 says that *if we confess our sins*, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. The Bible does not request much from us to be saved. We don’t need to be perfect, we don’t need to feed 12 sheep and write testimonies every week. But one thing is required, that is repentance of our sins. If you don’t preach that clearly, or give the impression that repentance and confession of sin is only needed by rank and file Christians, not by leaders, then you’re not preaching the gospel as it is written in the Bible.

    • Of course I understand you did not claim that repentance is unnecessary. Just wanted to stress how important it is really.

      You’re saying that Lee’s problem was that he did not repent “perfectly”. The problem is that we don’t have any indication that he repented *at all*. When the reformers came to him from Korea and wanted to talk with him, he sent them away saying “God will punish me if I did anything wrong.” These are not words by a repentant man. These are words by a stubborn self-righteous man. At least so they sound to me. We should not give the impression that people with such an attitude should be considered Christians or even Christian leaders.

    • Hi Chris,

      What I am trying to say is that in the final analysis God is our ultimate and only Judge. I am not saying this as a cop out–for Lee or any other UBF leader or myself–to not deal with the utmost importance of personal repentance for every Christian. As your fellow countryman Luther, whom I am learning to admire more and more, said, “All of life is repentance.” Jesus also stressed the crucial urgency of repentance (Luke 13:3,5).

      So for instance, I want do repent, I believe, but to some people they may think my repentance may not be sincere enough, or adequate, or to their satisfaction, or expectation based on whatever their criteria may be.

      Likewise, I do not believe that anyone can truly judge anyone else’s repentance because no human being can see the heart of another person. Again, I am not defending Lee for some of the things he did and said. I am just saying that neither you nor I should judge Lee or anyone else regarding some matters where only God truly knows man’s heart (Rom 2:1-3; Matt 7:3-4; 1 Sam 16:7).

    • Agreed, only God is the final judge, only He knows all details and the heart of a person, and there may be cases where our impression of whether somebody truly repented or not may be wrong. However, this does not mean that we should leave the judgement about whether somebody repented to God alone. Mt 18:18 and 1Cor 5:12-13 say very clearly and explicitly that the church should judge those who are inside in case they should not listen to the members and do not repent for clear and obvious sins. That does not mean that these people are judged forever – God may have a different opinion, or they may change their mind one day and repent later. But the church should demonstrate a clear stance towards people who are unrepentant, and not make them believe they are saved anyway and consider them as believers. God does not want us to perform religious duties, he wants only one thing – repentance. If we neglect that, everything else is of little value (Am 5:22, Lk 15:10).

      The reason why I repeat this point is that I see it always ignored in the discussion of the assessment of UBF in the past and what UBF should do in the future. Members discuss whether UBF should change or claim that UBF has changed, but the first thing that should be discussed is whether UBF (as a whole and top leaders individually) have repented or are willing to repent. There must be a public confession of guilt and repentance, otherwise no new beginning will be possible. And we should not in any way commend someone who was obviously unwilling to repent (can I say “foudner’s day”?) – actually such people should be considered like gentiles (Mt 18:17) (which of course does not mean that such people should be treated badly, we should love gentiles as well, but they should not be considered Christian leaders and role models).

    • Hi Chris,

      My evaluation of (wrong) things said and done by some UBF people is virtually similar to yours, I think. The things that you say need to be addressed, changed, repented of, I can also confidently say are also similar to my assessment. All I am saying is that as much as you wish for these things to happen (as I do), they are neither in your hands nor my hands. Ultimately it is in God’s hands.

      As God said to Habakkuk, God can even use more ruthless and ungodly people to discipline God’s own relatively “less wicked” people (Hab 1:6,13). Without in any way justifying all the wrongs that have been done in UBF, I dare say that God can even use “wicked unrepentant” UBF people/leaders to accomplish HIS purpose.

      God does not fulfill his work because we are good or adequately repentant. God fulfills his work in spite of the fact that we are evil and wicked. That has always been the case.

      Neither you nor I can force/compel/coerce/write/blog/persuade/appeal to our leaders (or even our own children) to repent. That is the mysterious work that only the Holy Spirit can do. No man can bring about another man’s repentance.

      You, Vitaly, Brian, and perhaps even I have said all we can say in all the ways and angles that we can say them. Now it is up to God’s own mysterious sovereign will and purpose to accomplish his divine plan, while we ourselves work out our salvation with “fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12), and with “humility and tears” (Acts 20:19).

    • When you say you can’t “force/compel/coerce/write/blog/persuade/appeal to our leaders (or even our own children) to repent” you’re lumping too many words together. We need to differentiate: Sure, you can’t force them to repent. But you can appeal to them to repent. If I am a member of a church, why can’t I appeal to the leadership of my church to repent for the sins the church commited in the past? Maybe the leadership will not listen, but shouldn’t I at least try? If I am a pastor or elder of a church, why can’t I demand somebody who is openly sinning in an obvious way to repent? I already mentioned Mt 18:15-18 and 1Cor 5,11-13 which demand that the church does this very thing. Paul complains because the Corinthians were reluctant to do so. Of course I cannot bring forth repentance, but if a person is confronted with his obvious sin and refuses to repent, this shows that the person is not a Christian and should not be considered as such. Repentance is the hallmark of any Christian. Somebody who is not willing to repent in view of his obvious sin should not be considered as a Christian believer (1Jn 1:8-10). I’m not directly referring to UBF here, I’m talking about general principles.

    • Yes, you’re right, Chris. I should not use the words “persuade and appeal” in the same way as “force or coerce.” As stated, I think that we are both agreeing about the same biblical theological doctrinal points. So, “absolutely” YES, a Christian is one who repents because of the grace of Jesus. I also frequently use the verses in Mt 18:15-17 as guides for addressing issues, problems, conflicts, and sins.

      I will repeat again that in the final analysis no man can or should judge another man’s repentance, because no man can truly see another man’s heart, based on his outward behavior, conformity, or outward/publc repentance (Rom 2:1-3; Matt 7:3-4; 1 Sam 16:7; Mt 21:28-32).

  5. Ben,

    These are good observations. And although you write from a UBF experience, I think you capture some problems common to nearly all Christian leaders across many denominations. At least that is my opinion after reading numerous blogs and listening to several sermons/leadership videos recently.

    I think the core issue is a heart issue. What does our heart look like? For many years I wanted to be a “lion heart”. I was careful to be conforming and obedient (lamb like) outwardly, but fostered a ferocious heart in my inner person.

    I was stunned to realize that a “lion heart” is very close to a false prophet Jesus described in His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:15). I see no direction from Jesus to have a wolf-like heart while appearing to be meek or mild-mannered outwardly. Just the opposite.

    The new image I learned from the Sermon on the Mount is to have a lamb heart, that is, meek, generous, peaceful, hopeful, joyful, faithful inner life. It is out of the overflow of our heart that we speak and we are known and we are deemed clean or unclean (Mark 7:15; Luke 6:45).

    Jesus wants my heart. When I submit my heart to Jesus, I find rest, peace and grace– no condemnation. Then I am free to be bold like a lion

  6. Thanks, Brian. I have always felt from you a gentleness that comes from the grace of God. Because of your lamb-like heart that comes from the Lamb of God, you have a fearlessness that is refreshing and authentic. Thank you for being a friend to me.
    Thanks also for sharing your reflection on the Sermon of sermons in the Sermon on the Mount. One of these days, God willing, I want to dissect it through. Maybe “dissect” is too medical/surgical a word. Maybe, digest, devour…

  7. Hi, Brian! I’ ll try to explain what I meant at some points. First, the “demon possession” is a confession of Samuel Lee himself, it is not my personal opinion. I read the confession from your link to some letters of a former Chicago UBF missionary. Based on the letters I form my opinion and to tell you the truth I was shocked when I read that. You know while in UBF I had not read anything on Internet about UBF, I didn’t speak to any former UBF member because I was told by a director that all former UBF members are “satans” (a kind of generalization, isn’t it?). Second, as I read Chris’s comments on Friendship I found many very good questions about UBF problems and there was no answer even on this friendly site and it seemed that the only answer was that UBF leaders were and are just “good christians”. I can reply with your words, “It is not true”. I think that comparision with Saul is better in the place than with David. Can you say that Saul was a “good christian”? So can’t I. So when the article says “christian leaders” where UBF leaders are (also) meant, I think it is a generalisation, justifying UBF leaders and gracefully admitting them to “christian”ity. I mean that there is a difference between UBF and the “outside” christian world (UBF is a “special” tree and its fruit shows that). Though I agree that in UBF there are christians and true christian friends of mine and even christian leaders, and that the article “captures some problems common to nearly all Christian leaders across many denominations”. Third, I think that the AIndex advice is good and right and that I may publicly agree with the advice given to christians. (I mean that there are some christian opinions about UBF and so they are not only my personal opinion). I am reading the Bible after 16 years of being a UBF member, and it seems that I am reading a new book that I have never read. Tell me this a year ago I wouldn’t believe that there can be such an experience after a 16 year “christian” church Bible study. (BTW I can give an example of a many times UBF Bible study in our chapter. 1John4:20b says, “For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen”. The UBF leader teaching (based on the verse) says, “You cannot say that you obey God, whom you can not see, if you don’t obey the chapter leader, whom you can see”. Can you say that the teaching is christian? (I don’t want to generalize and so I don’t say that the teaching is common to all UBF chapters. But there is something very UBFic in the teaching, isn’t it?). About children, Dr. Ben, if you were in my former chapter you would be called at least a “prodigal son”. It is not permitted, so to say, in our chapter to attend another church, even once in a life. And fourth, I don’t have an intention to wound anybody with my words. So when you read my comments please take it easy, for I am writing only about “bad christians”, not about you ))) (And English is not my native language and sometimes it is not easy for me to fully and correctly express my thoughts. I don’t know even whether “take it easy” is a proper phrase here).

    • Thanks Vitaly, I think I understand. And I certainly can relate.

    • Actually, Vitally, I am a “bad Christian.” That’s why I desperately need Jesus, more and more as I get older.
      Yes, I agree that the exegesis of 1 Jn 4:20 is really a forced (wrong) application not the author’s perspective.

  8. Anonymous

    There’s also the case of being wounded by the wounded. However, leaders should be held to a higher standard. I presume one should deal with the latter first. And then move toward the former.

    • Mark Mederich


    • It is actually entirely understandable that “the righteous” wound others, for they are wounded themselves. In my opinion, that’s not the problem, since yes “we are all sinners,” and thus wounded. The problem is that when the righteous wound others, some of the righteous seem unable, hesitant, reluctant, or even totally incapable of acknowledging it.

  9. Joseph R

    Being in UBF for only 3 years, I may not be in the position to say much about the church or the church members. But I do know that all churches have a heart problem. UBF, in many areas, have a heart problem. This is where Christ needs to work on. UBF is not a place to run away from, but a place to let God’s light be a light. God’s light cannot be overcome by darkness (John 1:5), no matter how great darkness is nor how small the light is.

    As a Christian, you are the light of this world (Mat 5:14) because of Jesus in your heart. We see Christians in the midst of a Muslim/Buddhist/Jewish temple and even in Atheist organizations, trying to reach out and be a light. Jesus was in the Temple of unrepentant Pharisees (John 2:14). He needed to be there.

    Jesus is needed in UBF. Surely, Jesus can use a Christian in any church, Christ-centered or not. I have noticed that some has run away from UBF because of UBF’s MBF, shepherding, this and that. But I cannot imagine Jesus running away where He is needed most. He did say to shake the dust off our feet (Mat 10:14) and to not throw our pearls to pigs (Matthew 7:6). In my heart, I know that UBF is a church that is willing to grow. Many UBF leaders and pastors have a blind sides, but Christ is working in their heart on a day to day basis.

    Christians are called to witness to the ‘ends of the earth’ (Acts 1:8), certainly this includes churches, regardless of how far away they are from Christ.

    • Joseph, you have some good thoughts. A Christian’s witness is to witness what/who? I believe a Christian must point people to Christ. We can do that both “in” UBF and “out” of UBF. The problem is that most UBF leaders (i.e. “God’s servants”) teach and think that you cannot really be a Christian if you resign from your post in UBF or leave UBF in some way. Or at least you can’t be as good of a Christian, they often think. All of this is done with the standard UBF-style “imply and deny” speech and writing.

      So I agree, we are called to “witness” and that does include “witnessing” to abusive cults. And I say that “witness” has to include witnessing based on facts, mutual dialogue and open discussion of problems. It does not meant to live in a KOPHN fantasy world by any means. Nor does it mean to just keep rebuilding UBF heritage every time it falls apart.

    • Thanks, Brian. You said it well. An attitude of “Are you in?” or “Are you out?” is horrible. It creates sectarianism, tribalism, elitism, imperialism, nationalism, etc.

      Thanks, Joseph. Too “see” our blind sides/blind spots is painful. The reason it is blind is because we do not want to see it or hear about it. So, it requires others to exhort us (Heb 3:13) to help us see the “plank in our own eye” (Mt 7:4).

  10. Many, who left UBF, had witnessed what they wanted. And the fact that so many christians have left UBF is a very good witnessing.

    • I agree, Vitaly. The fact that when people become inspired by the Holy Spirit and desire the greater things of God and want to leave behind elementary-level teachings, they leave UBF.

      I want to remind everyone that many people who left UBF (especially former leaders) were pushed out. Some of us tried for years to find our role…we wanted to be leaders; we were willing to sacrifice; we were willing to obey absolutely. But in the end, the “servants of God” did not reward such things with greater responsibility, but instead with more rebuke, more guilt and more burden.

      Many of us tried to witness while “in” UBF, asking questions and trying to learn the Christian faith, only to find silence to our questions. UBF has driven many to become vocal about such things. It happens every 10 years or so.

    • yellowblossom

      Ubf to me has been a blessing in the bible study I was taught and can be used for bible study to reach people s hearts and Jesus to come in. However, Christ and the Holy Spirit are free and they live in our hearts. Jesus lives within. So in or out of an organization means nothing. It’s how much a person is willing to show Jesus to others who are broken and help people and bring them to the truth

  11. Thanks, Brian, Vitaly, Chris, and others for speaking up. I often oversimplify and overgeneralize. So, let me stick my foot into my mouth again. UBF’s “problems” are primarily leadership problems expressed in the following ways:

    1) An older leader often won’t listen to younger people because of hierarchy/pride/”spiritual order”/authoritarianism.

    2) Older leaders often can’t let go of their position of leadership and control, because they have been leaders for decades.

    3) Older leaders do not welcome initiative from younger people, unless initiated by, sanctioned, and pre-approved by them.

    4) Older leaders have rarely been critiqued, nor is critique ever truly welcomed, because a junior has no right to critique their senior. To justify this, see what happened to Ham, and to Miriam and Aaron when they were “disrespectful” to their leader Noah and Moses.

    5) Older leaders do not welcome their messages or directives or assessment to be questioned or critiqued, because they are God’s appointed servant, and because you do not “critique the word of God,” thus equating their messages on par with the Bible.

    Again, I am sorry if this is an over-genalization or over-simplification.

  12. A Facebook reminder that I wrote this three years ago.

    To this day, I am a firm believer that wounding by any leader in the church needs to be prayerfully addressed. This reflects Christ-likeness and humility when a leader acknowledges that they have hurt their flock.

    Conversely it reflects pride and arrogance if they refuse to hear how they may have hurt and wounded others.

    One of the worst statements I heard was when I brought up how poorly and abusively a father/leader treated/wounded his daughter/sheep. The defensive statement was “Do you ever consider how she treated her father” as a rhetorical question to justify, excuse and minimize the severity of the father/leader’s abusive behavior toward her.