Sheep have been given a bad reputation. We all know that being called "a sheep" is not a compliment. In a society as competitive as ours, being defined as a sheep is an insult. We even have a derisive name for it: "sheeple." Sheeple follow the herd. Unable to act independently. Willing to follow each other over a cliff. Cowards because they run away from the threat of being eaten alive by a predator rather than standing up for themselves.
Being a sheep is for losers, except in churches where the members are defined by sheep language. Then, the people are the sheep in the flock. The pastors, priests, and ministers are the "shepherds." They lead the sheep and try to bring lost sheep back into the sheepfold. In such cases, identity is defined by being "good sheep," "black sheep," "lost sheep," or "shepherds," A shepherd's responsibility is to take care of the good sheep in the flock, correct the black sheep, and bring back the lost sheep.
Would You Rather Be a Lion or a Sheep?
Consider Sister Elizabeth Kenny's assertion about lions and sheep. In World War I, she volunteered to serve as a nurse and earned the title "Sister" in the Australian Army Nurse Corps. Her courage on dangerous missions during the war was demonstrated in these words:
It is better to be a lion for a day than a sheep all your life.
Why do we admire lions and demean sheep? Lions are powerful creatures. They are predators that kill other creatures for food. In contrast, sheep are satisfied to eat grass and lie on the ground chewing their cuds, harming no one.
Think about that. Sheep harm no one. They aren't stupid. They have the good sense to run away from what frightens them. They are gregarious. They follow each other. They welcome other sheep although they want enough space to live without being crowded. And yes, they will follow other sheep over the cliff. (Take a look at An Introduction to Sheep Behavior by Richard Cobb to have a more positive opinion about the admirable qualities of sheep.)