Thursday, December 8, 2016

Matthew 10:16 -- On Sheep in Wolves' Clothing

"Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves."
Matthew 10:16

Christ addressed these words to his apostles as he told them to go out and preach and heal and help. He reminded them that they were "of more value than many sparrows" (verse 31).  We don't all have the same calling or responsibilities as apostles, but I think we can learn a lot from what Christ taught, and apply it to our lives.

The sheep among wolves part I think we can feel sometimes.  As we learn to be disciples of Christ, we learn that we should love our enemies, turn the other cheek, and a lot of other things that might seem to others to be weak.  As students of the gospel, we know that following God's laws requires humility and submission.  It isn't always easy to resist the thought that someone needs a good punch in the face, or the feeling that we need justification or retribution.  But God knows what he is doing, and if we stick with him, things will be okay.  The whole outcome of a sheep versus wolf confrontation seem obvious, and sure, many will mock us as the symbolic sheep, but let's remember that God himself is on our side, and that God is always supporting us, even when we can't see it (2 Kings 6:17).

God knows that we have to be wise in order to win this sheep vs. wolf matchup.  And we can't do it the movie way by beating them up before they eat us, because that doesn't make the world better.   I think the true goal here is to find our fellow sheep that are out there, maybe in wolves' clothing.  :) People who we love, or can learn to love, and who God needs in order to build Zion.  Let's start looking around us at the wolves, and stop worrying about them coming for us and how to protect ourselves, and let's be wise enough to learn how to save them from their wolf costumes.  Let's be harmless, even when it is only defensiveness.  Let's learn to actively love, and love, and love some more rather than being afraid or offended or resentful.  God will take care of all of that.  We just have to find some wise ways to get the wolves on our side, part of our community, and maybe a little bit more tame on a non-mutton diet.  Let's be good serpents and doves and sheep today, and love all the other animals--especially the wolves, who need our help the most.

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