Sheep In Wolves Clothing
“…we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.” Psalm 95:7
“A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing is an idiom of biblical origin. It is used of those playing a role contrary to their real character, with whom contact is dangerous.” (Wikipedia). The scripture reference is found in Matthew 7:15. Jesus warned false prophets disguised as sheep would prey upon the unsuspecting. This made me think. In almost forty years of serving God I’ve encountered very few false prophets. Unfortunately, I remember too well others just as destructive, sheep in wolves clothing.
Preposterous you think? Ask your pastor, even your spouse, children and friends. They have seen seemingly docile sheep morph into wolves and have scars to prove it. How do people professing genuine faith in God become dangerous threats to others? Hurting people hurt people.
Sheep are vulnerable creatures. They fuss with each other but are defenseless against wolves and predators. Unlike species capable of transforming their appearance, like chameleons, sheep stick out like sore thumbs. If they could disguise themselves they’d be less susceptible to attack.
Jesus referred to His followers as sheep. Unlike the cute wooly kind, human sheep can think and plan. Experience is a great teacher. Touch a hot stove once and you learn to avoid the heat unless you’ve got protection, such as a potholder. Taking precautions prevents injuries. People possess the ability to inflict pain and suffering on others. In sports terminology, “the best offense is a good defense”. To protect themselves, hurt people sometimes adopt an aggressive persona. Cross their path and the fangs are bared, the claws come out. Get out of the way or become discarded carnage.
Many church members have never encountered a false prophet. They do have horror stories of sheep in wolves clothing wrecking havoc on a congregation. Some of these members were driven away, vowing never to participate in a formal church setting again. They love the Lord; it’s the church they can’t stand.
This is tragic and shouldn’t be, but is reality. To answer the question “Why?” I reiterate, hurting people hurt people. No one consciously wants to be a patsy. “Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me.” To avoid repeated abuse one can adopt a defensive posture; protecting oneself and one’s rights at all costs. Too often, innocent people suffer the consequences of this hyper-vigilant behavior.
The love of God can heal any hurt, but it comes with a price. It costs us the right to exact revenge. We release the enemy into God’s hands and trust Him for resolution and restitution. This doesn’t mean people aren’t held accountable for their actions, they are. We don’t get to be the judge, jury and the executioner. God’s love also makes us confront our own actions. We aren’t always the innocent victim. His love will put the broken pieces back together again and restore our ability to love and trust once more. We’re not guaranteed a bullet-proof life, just one not spent in a smelly wolf skin.