Many American western movies of the 1940s and ’50s feature heroic lawmen who stand for justice against merciless outlaws, greedy saloonkeepers, and powerful ranch owners. Displaying great moral courage, these sheriffs can’t be bribed or bullied. And in the end they arrest the lawless element, restoring peace and freedom to the town.
It’s not a stretch to say that the motives of a good sheriff express the Christly qualities of a good shepherd. As Jesus noted, the good shepherd takes care of his sheep, unlike the hired man or hireling who runs when danger comes (see John 10:11, 12).
Following the lawmen’s example, we can be the good sheriff of our own town—our own consciousness. We are responsible for arresting and expelling lawless thoughts that would seem to sneak in and try to take control.