“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.” Matthew 10:16
During the many trying times I have had in the past four or five years, I have concentrated on figuring out how exactly to handle my situation. How is Jesus calling us to act when we are being attacked? He knows that this world is a treacherous place. He is sending us out as delicate and fragile sheep. We are vulnerable and we are prey to the wolves.
How exactly are we supposed to act and defend ourselves? He gives us two animals to emulate, or specifically, two characteristics attached to two animals. “Be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” (ESV) Another version translates it, “Be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” (NASB)
The balancing act is this: You have to be clever and resourceful, yet blameless in the process of life. Now when dealing with wolves, this is what you might be dealing with: false accusations, fraud, attempts on your life, attempts to harm you, or steal your young lambs (children), or separate and harm your family. This world is a very harsh place. First of all, you have the non-believers who don’t share your views or belief system. Their code of conduct often consists of serving the self. Then you have some very broken and mentally ill individuals. Then you have believers who do share your belief system, but may not have the capacity due to their own brokenness to walk the walk. From all these groups of individuals, you can imagine that the quest for power and the destruction of greed will take its toll on you.
Your defense? Be shrewd and wise.
St Thomas More is brought to mind, maybe because I believe that this man had to use his wit as his protection in a public forum. He had a reputation of being honest and effective. He was ultimately beheaded for not taking the Oath of Supremacy which was required for his job. Taking the oath meant you recognized the supremacy of the King and the Church of England. This is where the rubber met the road. So although he got quite far in life following Jesus’ directive, there comes points where there is no out, no alternative route.
Ultimately Thomas More was beheaded and made a martyr of the Church. In this article I have included several photos of the Colosseum because it is a stark reminder that being innocent means that you go blamelessly all the way — even when it looks grim.
So Jesus asks us to be innocent as doves. Doves were considered “clean” animals in Jesus’ time, and used for sacrifice. We need to take the high road when our enemy uses unfair, and unjust means. That means when your opponent lies, you tell the truth. You protect yourself as best as you can so as not to be exploited. You try to avoid the traps and snares set for you. It may seem like you are paranoid to some, but the playing field isn’t exactly level. Protective measures need to be taken as well as being thoughtful and purposeful in your language.
Remember that the Holy Spirit is portrayed in the form of a dove so call on the Paraclete to aid you in these supernatural endeavors. You might feel like the odds are against you but you actually do have the Supreme being on your side when you follow His plan.
Copyright 2018 Marya Hayes