Monday, April 19, 2010

Shrewd, but Innocent

I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Matthew 10:16 NIV

I have been pondering this verse for the last several days. In at least three different situations as I have considered my response to a set of circumstances I have mulled these words. What does this mean exactly and am I taking it out of context to apply it to my own daily life?

The verse was part of the speech Jesus Christ gave to his disciples as He sent them out. He gave them their instructions to seek the lost, care for the flock and live out the great commission--and included this warning. Be careful. It is a dangerous world. Don't sin in your fear, but keep your eyes open.

I think, in that context, His modern day disciples (that's me and you) would do well to heed this advice.

I believe it serves as a reminder that being a loving Christian does not mean being a weakling that is easily fooled or taken advantage of. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we can be merciful peacemakers who love and serve our neighbor while exercising wisdom and appropriate caution. (TOUGH to do by our flesh alone, no doubt!)

Its application ranges from how to deal with toxic relationships to whether or not to send your young sons into a potentially dangerous restroom alone. I really appreciated the comment someone made about not being overly fearful. I agree--and yet, I do think we have an obligation to be discerning, prayerful and wise. It's all about that word isn't it...balance.

I have been praying God would give me greater insight into this concept. Still pondering...would love any insight anyone else has into this verse.


Peter and Nancy said...

I was thinking a lot about your post about the cab driver in regards to this verse. My gut reaction (which seemed horribly un-Christ-like) was to tell him politely but firmly, "Look, you can either lose money by taking us on our 20-minute ride, or I'm going to sit here in your cab for 20 minutes with my crying children."

It was his job to take you where you needed to go -- you weren't being unreasonable. Some part of my mind thinks this kind of firm statement is in line with Christian behavior -- Jesus was no wimp when confronted with someone else's selfishness.

So, I'm still not sure if that would've been a right (or safe!!) response, but I think sometimes we think that being a Christian means taking it on the chin in every situation. And I am positive that our justice-loving, growth-producing God doesn't want that either.

S said...

That's a tough one isn't it? To walk the fine line between innocent and shrewd. I know I don't do it very well. Personally, all I know to do is pray, pray, pray. Pray for guidance in all situations and then pray for the guts to follow through on where God has led you. I do love the other comment where she said "Jesus was no wimp when confronted...". I tend to forget He was tough too! Thanks for the reminder.