Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

Matthew 7:15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves."

It started several months ago - in a moment of weakness due to days of taxing physical labor - she allowed herself to be manipulated. she began to trust in someone, and believe in what they told her. She had a moment of clarity a couple days later, and even wrote about it. She chastised herself for allowing herself to be manipulated in such a way. 6 months later, she has continued to allow herself to be manipulated.

You see, we all want something to believe in. For some of us, we believe in ourselves only. For others, we believe in a higher power, or a God of some sort. And for others, we believe no one is worthy of believing in. But no matter what it is we choose, and to what degree, we need to believe. This woman was no different.

She believed in God. She believed that we should all do our best to help our neighbors. But just because she believed this, didn't mean that she believed we are all worthy of being saved, nor did she believe that God is all loving and kind and good. If this was the case, there wouldn't be so much sickness and disaster and pain in the world. Perhaps an accurate definition for her would be that she was a defeated believer. She didn't believe in the church, or in the church community. She believed you could worship in your own heart and that's all that was needed. And above all else, she believed that mankind itself is untrustworthy, and no one should be handed any kind of trust.

And in walked someone who made her question her beliefs. For six months this person forced her to reconsider, and forced her to allow trust and love back into her heart. For six months he had her convinced there was a better way. And then, just slightly into his teaching and guiding, he walked away. His reasons were selfish and petty. He who claimed to be doing "God's work" and following "God's path" took the path that was best to his liking. He didn't take the road less traveled. He took the one most appealing to himself.

2 Corinthians 11:14 "And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light."

Should he have such a right? Can he still claim to be such a follower of Christ if he follows his own desires? But, the same can be said of the woman in the story - she obviously desired him to remain her teacher, her leader. In her mind, the teaching was not done, the job was unfinished.

Switch out the characters in the story... the woman is now a young child, the preacher is a volunteer rescue worker...

This small child was out wandering around, and she falls into a deep well. She's cold, hungry, injured and tired. She's broken a bit. The rescue worker comes to her aid, dropping a rope down the well. He's able to instruct the girl how to place the rope around herself so he can pull her out. And he does pull. He puts in great effort to assist her. With each foot she is raised from the bottom of the well, her trust and love for the worker grows. Her hope grows. Her pain is lessened. Slowly, she reaches the halfway point. She knows she's almost free.

And then the worker releases the rope, having received a call about another job to do....

And thus endeth the lesson.  I'm quite certain I don't need to go into detail on how much worse her injuries to her body and spirit are after the rope was released.

Ezekiel 34:4 "The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them."

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