As Christians, are we living as one who’s heart is ruled by Jesus Christ, or are we more like wolves in sheep’s clothing? I think we can be very quick at times to judge these things in others. I know I can be. It’s hard when Christians we look up to are revealed to be less-than sheep-like, instead putting on a show of righteousness while they act deceitfully behind the scenes – even sinking their claws into the backs of those we care about. How should we handle these situations?
For starters, we should ask the Holy Spirit to examine ourselves. I think it’s safe to assume that all of us have been hypocritical at one point or another, and what is the typical wolf in sheep’s clothing? A hypocrite, right?
We are told to beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing. When Jesus said this, he was speaking particularly about false teachers and prophets who appear to be of Christ when they are not. In Jesus however, we know that he desires for us to look at things in the spirit of the matter, so we can apply this to all who carry the name of Jesus outwardly – and we would do well to begin by examining ourselves.
It can be very easy to compare our righteousness to others and begin to judge them harshly. We would never do what they do. We often fail to realize that all good things in us are given by God, and He could just as easily remove these blessings from us and give us over to the same sins we judge others for. This is true without limitation, including our harsh judgment of the “wolves.” Why is this? Because we have all sinned, and if we are totally honest with ourselves, we have all had a wolf’s heart at one time or another.
If we have ever acted nice to someone’s face then torn their reputation to shreds with hateful gossip behind their back (even if we perceive what we say to be true), we have had a wolf’s heart. If we have purposefully caused harm to someone, all the while acting like we care about them, we have had a wolf’s heart. If we honor Jesus with our lips and perform enough outward righteousness to appear as “good Christians” to the outside world, while our inner world is full of hatefulness, lies, greed, and a general lack of a “kingdom of God” focus, then we have had a wolf’s heart. We have been hypocrites, and hypocrites will not inherit the kingdom of heaven.
If we perceive that a brother or sister has a wolf’s heart, we should first pray for them then seek the Spirit to reveal the truth of our own heart. Although we do not want to be foolish and allow wolves to tear us to shreds, we do not know the ultimate fate of any individual. Jesus can transform even the most ravenous wolf into a gentle, loving, and obedient member of his flock.
If we want Jesus to be merciful and forgiving toward us – if we want our own wolf heart healed – then we should do our best to show the same patience towards others. Especially the wolves.
Loving those who hate us can be difficult, but Jesus will help us do this. He will teach us forgiveness, patience, and mercy. He will give us faith and peace in the understanding that all things are upheld by His perfect will, and all things are coming together for our spiritual growth and good.