Is it possible to be kind and compassionate, but still intend to hurt someone? Proverbs 27:6 says “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy”. I can’t imagine Solomon has in mind here unintentional hurting. The idea is that you will be called upon from time to time to speak truth even though you know it will hit the person in a soft spot. Jesus was a compassionate truth teller. He looked at the crowd and called them sheep without a shepherd. This is not meant to conjure up sentimental images of lost lambs that need rescuing. It’s not even a statement about the value of the crowd, conveying the idea “oh, look at those poor sheep”. It is simply an observation. It’s a statement of fact. To help them he has appointed shepherds, human shepherds, who are sheep too. The only difference is that they have been called by God to help lead their own kind. The religious leaders who should have been watching over these sheep had done nothing but abuse, exploit, and now abandon them (see Ezekiel 34:1-24). These people were in need of a shepherd. They were in need of the truly good Shepherd. So are we. With human shepherds this will always be imperfectly done until the Great Shepherd guides us all in the Kingdom. In the meantime we tell the truth even if it hurts. We shepherd one another by upholding the authority of Scripture and accountability to its standards. This will not always make us popular, but it will make us healthy. May the Lord hasten the day when we can all be lead by someone perfect.