It must be stamped on my forehead. I hope it’s not permanently tattooed, because I’d like to have it removed! Somehow, only visible to those who know what to look for, it must say, “Lie to me; I like it. I’ll believe whatever you tell me; I’m gullible.” I realize that’s a lot to squeeze on one forehead—my head’s not that big. But there’s got to be something there, because I continue to believe people when I shouldn’t.
I’m embarrassed that I trusted yet again; angry at the one who willfully deceived me. And I ache for all those who were hurt by their lies, as well as for the one practicing deception. I keep asking why? Pretending to be what they were not. Making promises they had no intention of keeping. They had to keep all their stories straight as the web increased in complexity and eventually strangled them. The one who lies is the sorriest victim of all.
It’s a sad fact that some people lie and should not be trusted, but I’m not suspicious by nature. It’s taken me longer than some to figure this out. You think I’d develop wariness, a cynical attitude, after the first time or two. But I don’t want to become hardened to people and those in genuine need.
When He sent His disciples out with the Good News about God’s kingdom, Jesus warned, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” (Matt. 10:16). What does that mean for us today?
I have definitely encountered a few wolves in sheep’s clothing! Haven’t you? Wolves are intentional about the harm they do. It’s good to be aware they are out there—in the world as well as in the church. They pose as one of the flock to get whatever fleece or meat they can gulp down before they’re discovered and have to make a run for it. Despite the danger, I’d much rather enjoy the life of a sheep under the care of the Shepherd, than live the precarious life of a wolf.
Snakes are pretty clever. The Bible describes them as craftier than any of the wild animals God made (Gen. 3:1). Jesus wants us to put that cleverness to work for good. Being a disciple of Jesus shouldn’t be equated with stupidity. We need to live in the world with our eyes and ears open, testing every supposed truth against the Word of God, and be wary of letting our emotions (or hormones) choose for us.
Doves, on the other hand, are symbolic of purity, innocence, sacrifice, and the presence of the Holy Spirit. All of which are qualities which should be displayed in God’s people.
What do you get with you put them all together?
a a. A fleece-covered bird with a long neck
b b. A snake with wings that says “Baa!”
. c. A smart but innocent sheep with a forked tongue
d d. A person who lives in the world, but is not fooled by its version of wisdom or lured into evil
I want to be wise to the lies of the Deceiver and expose his trickery, but not hardened to those who’ve been deceived themselves. I want to spend my time, money, energy, and mind in the pursuit of the Mission—to love and care for people, point them to Jesus Christ, and help them learn His ways. Sometimes that means getting hurt. So be it. The rewards are worth the wounds. And there is wisdom to be gained along the way.
#wolfinsheepsclothing #deceived #whocanItrust #toogullible #wiseasserpentsinnocentasdoves