Sunday, June 12, 2016
Wise and Harmless
While I was taking some r/e continuing ed classes last week, the instructor told us to put our phones on silent, to which we all did. But, right in the middle of the class, the instructor’s phone speaker loudly said, “This is the Internal Revenue Service and you are under criminal investigation for past due payments. You will be arrested if you do not call within 24 hours…….” She assured us she had no payments due to the IRS and she verified that her phone was on silent, yet the scammers were able to even get around that technology. The IRS says taxpayers across the nation have been faced with a deluge of these aggressive phone scams.
We’ve all heard the sad stories of how people lost their entire life’s savings to scammers. How could people be so cruel to do that to someone AND how can people have such lack of wisdom to fall for those scams?
Jesus cautioned His disciples, men who were just heading out to spread good news to the world, that they were doing dangerous work. He said, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves”. Matthew 10:16. In this day and age, how can WE be wise and harmless at the same time?
How are serpents wise? To be wise means to be marked by understanding of people and situations, to have keen and unusual discernment, and a capacity for sound judgment in dealing with people and situations. To discern means to detect with the eyes and with senses other than vision. It also means to read character or motives. Snakes are pros at escaping. Their most common form of self-protection is avoidance. A snake’s first line of defense is to escape to safety among rocks or vegetation. Snakes have to be alert to dangers. Most snakes are not aggressive. Snakes do not want to attack humans. Snakes bite humans only in self-defense. They would rather not confront us. So it seems that we can be as wise as serpents by perceiving and avoiding danger and escaping from it!
How are doves harmless? To be harmless is to lack the capacity to injure or to be free from inflicting physical or mental damage. Doves are referred to as birds of peace. Their temperament is calm and their disposition is sweet. Doves really are harmless. Doves aren’t that bright as seen in how they build their nests quite poorly. I read that they will even lay their eggs on a windowsill. I can’t fault them for that. How many “delivering” human mamas end up giving birth in a car or some other less-than-comfy place?
Wise and Harmless – it seems like God was giving us the tools to make it when it seems the enemy is out to get us everywhere we turn. We need to heed Jesus’ instruction to His disciples: “Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” Detect and avoid danger, while living in gentleness, kindness and innocence. Be wise and harmless—always. When taken together, these instructions just may be our best OFFENSE and DEFENSE against the snare of the fowler. "Surely He will save you from the snare of the fowler" Psalm 91:3.