Courtesy 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.