Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing

wolf-in-sheeps-clothing-2577813_640Courtesy of SarahPickertArt.

Have you ever seen a wolf in sheep’s clothing? If you have, you know that when you first see one something seems “off,” something is not quite right. Initially it is hard to identify what it is but sooner or later you are able to put your finger on it.

Not a week goes by that we don’t read in the news of a wolf that has taken advantage of a sheep, someone more innocent and unsuspecting than they are. It could be that the wolf is a parent, relative, pastor, priest, teacher, coach or boss. The wolf has one goal in mind and that is to take advantage of an unsuspecting individual.

Young people must be taught to be on the lookout for wolves. Parents must also recognize the signs and signals these wolves give off in order to take advantage of their prey. Here are a few signs that I have seen:

1. Overly Friendly – the wolf is usually overly friendly with the child or teenager. He or she wants to be the young person’s “friend.” It should strike us as odd that an adult would want or need a younger person as a close personal friend.

2. Gift Giving – the wolf will use gifts to lure the young person into their sphere and will continue to lavish gifts on them and their family in order to keep them there. As adults, we must not be taken in by this materialistic hook that is used to hold our children captive in an unhealthy relationship.

3. Flattery – the wolf will use flattery on the adult in order to disarm their sense of danger and allow them to have access to the young person they are interested in.

4. Trips and Travel – the wolf will want to get the young person off away from their parents and will offer to take them on special trips or travel with them to out-of-town destinations in order to be alone with them for several hours or overnight.

Sometimes we don’t recognize the wolf until it is too late and they have damaged our child. We look back and we see the signs and signals that we didn’t pay attention to and we regret that we were not more aware at the time. We may also have turned off our warning system because of one of the ploys the wolf was using to distract us from the natural sense of danger we have when we were around the wolf.

Jesus Himself gave us some good advice regarding wolves in sheep’s clothing. It would be good to listen to it and think about it the next time we are tempted to be seduced by a wolf:

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. THEREFORE, BY THEIR FRUITS YOU WILL KNOW THEM.” Matthew 7: 15-20

If we suspect that our children have been seduced by a wolf into an unhealthy relationship, what can we do? The first thing we must do is Talk to our children. We must get them talking and tell us what is really going on in the relationship. We need to provide an atmosphere of safety and security for them to open up and trust us with what is happening to them.

Next we must Pull Back. It is never too late to pull back from this kind of relationship. We must use whatever means necessary to break off the relationship with the wolf. We must hold a hard line and not allow our children to have further contact with the wolf.

Finally, we must Tell Someone. If the wolf has violated our child sexually we must alert the authorities about what has gone on. It will do not good to protect the wolf from the legal consequences of his or her actions. If we do, the wolf will just go off and find another unsuspecting sheep to lure into a relationship with them.

Wolves in sheep’s clothing…they are everywhere. Let’s be on the lookout for them and not allow ourselves or our children to become their next prey. 

Lessons Learned From My Sons

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Any one who has had sons knows that some of the best lessons in life can be learned from them. The first lesson I learned from my sons was Joy. When they were toddlers they could find Joy in the smallest things, such as playing with the boxes at Christmas more than the toys that were in them. They didn’t need anything sophisticated to provide their Joy, they found it in their surroundings. They taught me to look for Joy in the ordinary circumstances of life.

The next lesson I learned from my sons was an appreciation of Beauty. They found Beauty in things I would have considered common place. When they would bring me a bouquet of dandelions, I would smile and thank them for the “pretty flowers.” They didn’t see weeds, they just saw the Beauty of nature. I learned to see Beauty where I hadn’t seen it before.

When they went to Pre-school and Kindergarten, I learned Tolerance. They did not see color, race or economic status in their fellow students. They just liked who they liked and wanted to play with whomever they met. They had not learned to discriminate against people relating to anything society would later want to put on them. I knew I needed to be more like them and just view people as people…period.

When they were in Elementary School, I learned Generosity. Both of my sons began to see the economic disparity in their classmates lives and were concerned for their them. One son went out for track. He had three pairs of tennis shoes and for the first few days gave the shoes he was wearing away to someone needing a better pair. By the third day he had to make a hard decision. If he gave away his last pair, he would not be able to go out for the sport himself. We all learned that unfortunately, there are limits to where our Generosity can take us.

In Junior High, they taught me to let them have their Independence. Each had to make their own decisions and suffer the consequences for those decisions. Our youngest son went along with all of the other boys in the class and refused to write in a journal like his English teacher assigned. He took a “D” rather than cooperate, and was grounded until he brought his grade up.  Our oldest was suspended for a few days when he turned on a kid who had been harassing him throughout the year. He was ready to deck the kid and the principal told him that if he would just leave the kid alone, he could stay in school and the other kid would be suspended. He said, “No, if you leave me in school today, I will hit him.” He did not hit the kid and took his suspension days having stood up to him. Each had to make his decisions Independently of his father and me. 

In High School, they taught me Consideration and Respect. During a heated discussion with my oldest, he said, “Mom, you always think you are right!” That struck a chord with me as I could be a force to contend with in a verbal argument. I needed to learn to Consider my son’s opinions and not always think that I knew what was best for him. The same lesson came to me also via the younger son. He was a bright child and I wanted him to go to college right after high school. He knew he wasn’t ready and had no desire to go to college then. When I finally quit fighting with him about it; he went about his own way, joined the Army and later worked in the construction industry. Eventually, he did go to college, but it was on his terms pursuing a career he was interested in. I needed to learn to show Consideration for their opinions and Respect my sons’ decisions and let go of my preconceived ideas about what was best for their lives.

My sons have taught me a lot and still continue to teach me in their adult years. They are both intelligent and have deep moral values. They are better able to discern the gray areas in life and because of them, I have learned not to be such a black and white person. I appreciate my sons and all of the lessons they have taught me, and I know I am a better person because of it.