Tag Archives: deception

When Evil is Praised, God is not Mocked… Enjoy Your Orchard! 

Does it burn you up to see people getting praise who don’t deserve it? The devil blinds people to the truth. His job is to accuse genuine Christian believers, and to convince the weak to help him do his dirty work. The devil is the Deceiver, Father of lies, and the Accuser. He works hard to convince people to hate real Christians who love Jesus. The ONE and ONLY way to know the truth, is the PURSUE JESUS. 

People who ignore Jesus, choosing not to not talk or walk with him at all; might as well walk around covering their eyes and ears. There is NO way to be aware of the truth if you choose not to be its friend… for Jesus IS Truth! Only those of us who listen to God’s instruction can know the truth. We want nothing to do with the false praises of wicked people, and instead run to the arms of our Savior:  “Those who forsake instruction praise the wicked, but those who heed it resist them” (Prov. 28:48 New International Version).

People who falsely praise wicked people, usually do so out of fear. They want to stay in the “good graces” of someone they deem as “powerful,” or someone who can give them false security or what they consider to be favors. They choose to live a lie, instead of seeking the truth, when we should instead be desiring to stay within the good grace of God. God is the Only One Who can provide everything we need, and give us true security and joy. To not acknowledge Him, or lead others to Him, is to walk away from the truth. 

If we really want to know fact from fiction about a person, place, or situation; we need to ask Jesus about it. When we go our own way, we leave ourselves open to all the tricks of the enemy; and the enemy is very good at pretending! “And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve” (2 Cor. 11:14-15). This means there are people out there pretending to be Christians! These wolves are even fooling Christians who have abandoned the path of truth and righteousness! Jesus will be more than happy to talk and walk with those who find their way back to his path. We have nothing to lose if we follow Jesus… but everything to lose if we don’t!

Jesus says we can differentiate genuine believers from non-believers by inspecting their fruit. There are good trees, bad trees, and their fruit.  What kind of trees are in your orchard? Are they dead, or are they producing delicious fruit? Everything you need to know about real Christians and those who pretend to be Christians; is written in the Bible. We can find out about truth ahead of time, instead of waiting until we find ourselves in a desperate situation! 

When we see evil bring praised by men, the silver lining is God knows about it. His Word tells us not to worry about it, because He knows the truth about what is really going on. Even though it’s hard to watch when people praise men and women who are wicked,  God will not be mocked. He tells us that people who choose to participate in evil, will get what they deserve. He even reminds us in this Psalm “Of David. Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away” (Psalm 37:1-2). We can go about enjoying our lives, because God will provide justice in His good and perfect timing!

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life” (Gal. 6:7-8).


Pursue Jesus, and enter an orchard where good trees bear good fruit! 

Join us at The Silver Lining, as we explore the topic of truth. Explore other related topics, as well. Find daily encouragement on The Silver Lining Facebook ministry page. There will be godly posts and scriptures shared by myself and other Christian writers who love Jesus! 

Healing Wounds of Narcissism… a New Beginning

The Silver Lining is all about finding hope and encouragement in Jesus, so you can be healed, and find the freedom and joy God wants you to have! For the joyful month of April, The Silver Lining theme is: HEALING. After all, Easter is a celebration of new beginnings; new life in Jesus Christ, who suffered and died for our sins, and then miraculously arose on the third day; ALIVE! I will be sharing godly truths, to spread awareness about the kinds of lies, beliefs, and teachings, which can interfere with the healing of our wounds, whether they be; emotional, physical, mental, or spiritual. Some of these wrong life lessons are learned from toxic people; others are learned from our situations and the broken world in which we live.  As we renounce lies we’ve learned, and leave damaging situations and worldly teachings behind us, our wounds will become like old faded scars, barely visible; a story from long ago. We can then go on to live a joyful life, which is pleasing to God. In His timing, we will grow stronger, and more courageous in Christ, and find ourselves more eager, and able, to help others heal too! “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Isa. 53:5 New International Version).

One serious topic we will continue to explore, is NARCISSISM; which can get in the way of your healing even when you are doing your best to follow Jesus. Why? Because NARCISSISM, also known as EXTREME SELF-CENTEREDNESS; is a SIN, based upon lies the NARCISSIST puts into the victim’s head, and the heads of everyone else with whom the narcissist comes into contact. A narcissist is one who is engaged in self idol worship. If you’ve been the victim of narcissism, you need Jesus more than ever to heal you, and undo all the damaging abuse that was done to you. You need Jesus to show you the TRUTH; for the insidious spirit at work within narcissism needs to be revealed by THE HOLY SPIRIT. At  The Silver Lining, we will learn about the lies and spirits at work in narcissism, and how you can battle them. We will learn how to identify a self-centered, narcissistic personality, and we will focus on the miraculous healing Jesus can do in your life; emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually. “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander” (1 Pet. 3:5-6).

If 1 out of 25 people are thought to be so extremely self-centered they are considered to be narcissists, imagine how may people need healing from lies, manipulation, control, slander, confusion, and abuse? And with so many people who do not even know Jesus, imagine how much pain people are carrying around each and every day, and how many open wounds never get healed? All this, because people do not realize how much they need Jesus, and how he IS the silver lining we all so desperately need! He is THE SON shining bright beyond our dark stormy, cloudy trials! The abused need him, and the abusers need him. Everyone’s lives can be made new through God’s Son. Jesus is THE ONE and ONLY answer! Share the truth! Look for the silver lining…there is HOPE on the horizon! “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here” (2 Cor. 5:17)!

Below are some past blog posts and articles to get you started, in gaining a better understanding of the deceitfulness of narcissism. For more posts, and related topics, visit my homepage, and click on the topic: Narcissism. There are also related topics, such as: Spiritual Abuse, Suffering, Deception, Self-Condemnation, and Rejection. You can also go to the tab: Blog Posts, and tag search: narcissism, narcissist, self-centeredness; and any related words of interest. You can also go to the tab: Articles, and do the same search; for different, and more in depth material on the same topic. Visit, and ‘like’ my Facebook page for daily encouraging updates on healing, joy, freedom, and much more! You will also find wise posts filled with truth, by other brothers and sisters in Christ, who are rich in knowledge of the scriptures, and topics related to healing, narcissism, and God’s great grace, mercy, and love! May God bless you, and heal your hurting heart, in Jesus name!

A NARCISSIST’S DAMAGING IMPACT…HOPE FOR THE HURTING

NARCISSISM: BATTLING A SELF-CENTERED SIN

LOVE AND SUPPORT FOR VICTIMS OF NARCISSISTIC ABUSE


You do not have to remain bleeding and bruised! Jesus came to heal your wounds, and give you brand new life in Him! Say, “YES!” Rejoice!

Pursue The Shepherd to Escape the Wolves!

Everyone is free to believe as they wish, but no one should fool themselves into believing he or she will ever understand the truth about anything in life without pursuing God’s One and Only Son, Jesus Christ. If God says there are wolves among us, pretending to be Christians, He means it. It’s true. We need to pay attention to God’s warning, as we walk with Jesus and begin to view the world with godly, spiritual eyes. As our eyes and ears become open to the truth, we come to a place where we are no longer willing to be blinded and deceived by fake Christians, pretenders, or wolves in sheep’s clothing. We can rely on Jesus, refusing to get reeled in by the lies of self-centered, narcissistic people who are only interested in themselves. Many people also proudly rely on self, instead of looking towards God for guidance. Sadly, they will remain unable to escape the sharp hook of deception, and will lose out on the freedom of exploring the vast ocean of joy God has waiting for them. “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:33 New International Version).

To find truth, we must give our lives to Christ, and continuously pursue him. Christians follow Jesus in spite of their mistakes and imperfections. Christians are people who change, because they grow over time. Sometimes the changes come quickly, and others can take much more time. But the changes will be good changes, reflecting the character of Christ. If there are no positive changes and spiritual growth, one should ask God if He’s pleased with the spiritual journey He’s watching from up above. When a child of God is stuck in a rut, it’s likely that repentance, forgiveness, and prayer are all necessary to bring back a wandering heart. God is always waiting with open arms to receive His lost children!

True Christians are followers of Christ. They don’t just talk; they walk with Jesus. They humbly accept that they are not perfect, but seek to do unto others as Jesus would do. Christians forgive each other, and forgive in the name of Jesus when it’s too hard to do it on their own. Christians don’t demand forgiveness. Christians humbly seek forgiveness with a repentant heart. They want to know how they’ve offended a brother or sister in Christ, so they can fix what’s broken. The Bible tells us not to judge or condemn others. These sinful attitudes get in the way of forgiveness. Other strongholds which keep people seeing God clearly are: stubbornness, anger, bitterness, denial, and even rejection. As The Holy Spirit reveals these, it is our place to ask God to remove them in the name of Jesus. Healing, freedom, and joy take place. Forgiveness then comes easier, and more naturally, just as it does with Jesus.

Some people only pretend to give their lives to Christ. Others actually do receive their salvation, yet go on living the same lives they led before; lives that don’t include God. This isn’t God’s will for His children. God is our Creator. He wants a relationship with us. God is omniscient; He knows whether we’ve really given our lives to Him. He looks at our hearts: “But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart’ ” (1 Sam. 16:7 ). God also sees us bearing fruit, and planting seeds which lead to others growing in Christ.

When you are with a Christian, you should see and hear and feel Jesus reflected in the heart of that person. You should be able to see light in that person’s eyes, rather than darkness. You should hear words that uplift and encourage you, rather than words that leave you angry, bitter, and confused. You should feel hopeful, peaceful, and comforted after spending time with a Christian, rather than feeling anxious and depressed. Real Christians grow fruit; they leave the world a better place by leading others to Jesus. Their lives show evidence of joy, grace, and the mercy of God’s love.

We all have times of conflict with brothers and sisters in Christ, but these should not override the goodness seen within them; the goodness that comes from having a relationship with Jesus Christ. Many people daily refer to themselves as Christians just because they go to church or do good deeds, but they have not truly given their lives to Christ. Instead they choose to live life without any regard to God’s commandments and callings. Their walk does not reflect the character of Christ, so it causes others to have a warped, false, and negative view of the pure goodness of Christianity.

The bible tells us evil will masquerade as light. We need to pursue Jesus, asking for wisdom to discern fake Christians (wolves) from genuine Christians (sheep). Wolves are jealous and vengeful. They gossip, lie, and stir up strife on a regular basis. Because of their vicious nature, they can get in the way of the amazing plans God has for you! Therefore, be diligent, and heed God’s warning: “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves” (Matt.7:15). Ask God to help you identify deceit. Ask God to show you who the wolves are, and to remove them from your life, in Jesus’ name. God is your refuge and shelter; He is your greatest source of protection.

No matter what it looks like, what lies are being told, who has turned against you; look for the silver lining: NOTHING is more powerful than the power and authority of JESUS CHRIST in your life! God knows your worth; His Truth is all that matters! If you have a relationship with Jesus, then GOD HIMSELF has your back! Trust Him each and every day! Pursue Jesus, and the scales will fall from your eyes, as the real world of truth appears before you in ways you’ve never imagined! You will be amazed at what you can see through your brand new spiritual eyes! It’s about love and forgiveness. It really is…all about…pursuing JESUS!

” ‘I declare today that I have been faithful. If anyone suffers eternal death, it’s not my fault, for I didn’t shrink from declaring all that God wants you to know. ‘So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock–his church, purchased with his own blood–over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as elders. I know that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among you after I leave, not sparing the flock. Even some men from your own group will rise up and distort the truth in order to draw a following. Watch out! Remember the three years I was with you–my constant watch and care over you night and day, and my many tears for you. ‘And now I entrust you to God and the message of his grace that is able to build you up and give you an inheritance with all those he has set apart for himself.’ ”
( Acts 20:26-32 New Living Translation)

You can read more about how to identify wolves in sheep’s clothing in my article: Sheepish Character? False Christians cause Division (Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing).

My mission is to help others find hope leading to healing, joy, and freedom in the truth of Jesus Christ. On The Silver Lining homepage, you can click on specific topics related to this blog post, such as: narcissism, judging, deception, freedom, and more. You can also search your own keywords; examples are: “self-centeredness” “wolves” “jealousy” “character” “fruit” “light” and many others. Join The Silver Lining Facebook page, and share the silver lining experiences God has given to you, by submitting them to be shared with other readers! God bless you, in Jesus name! 

The Good Life…Do We “DESERVE IT?”   (Compassion Series)

The flawless looking model on TV flashes her bright white teeth, but her smile doesn’t reach her eyes. Her pretend fiancé presents her with a jewelry box containing a pair of expensive diamond earrings. She looks at the camera and says you should have some too, because she insists, “You deserve it!” But I know I don’t, and neither does she. When the world tells us, “We deserve it,” it tells multiple lies to hopeful, hurting people.

The world tells us we deserve nice, expensive things because we are all awesome and wonderful people. The problem is, not everyone is awesome, and most people are not so wonderful either. In fact, none of us deserve anything, because we are all sinners. The world also lies by placing false requirements upon us. It deceives us by telling us we need to pay a lot of money to get the things we rightfully “deserve.” Advertisers and businesses want us to believe that we will become even more awesome and wonderful people if we buy their products. On top of that, the sad truth is these items are only going to temporarily make us feel better.

We are sinners: broken hurting people, raised by broken, hurting people, trying to raise broken, hurting people. That is not so awesome. But the silver lining is that we don’t have to stay that way. We have Jesus. Jesus is NO Band-Aid. Jesus is a HEALER. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3 New International Version). Try as we may to: be a good person, do good deeds, spread goodness…we will never be good enough. We are only good because Jesus lives inside of us. If we continue to follow him, some of his awesome and wonderful goodness will rub off on us too.

We don’t deserve good things, best things, or better than best things. We deserve death: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). Sin leads to death; so how can there be hope for anyone? Every day, people lie, cheat, steal, gossip, covet, blame, bully, envy, fight, cuss, and manipulate. People do these things with the intentions of being “good.” That’s because we are born with sin and will battle it until we die. But Jesus loves us still. “And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you” (Psalm 39:7 New Living Translation).

In fact, Jesus loves us so much, that he agreed to sacrifice himself on the cross, as a love offering for you and me. He agreed to have our sins transferred unto himself. But Jesus was perfect! He didn’t deserve death! Yet, he took the punishment that each of us deserved, so we could have a chance to live forever! He took our punishment, so we wouldn’t be in danger of going to Hell. He never changed his mind, even though he could have chosen to save himself from torture and death at any moment. People spat on him. He took it. People insulted him. He took it. People beat him. He took it. People killed him… He died. And then… He LIVED! Why would anyone reject Our Savior who loves us so much? “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8 NIV).

Only with Jesus, do we become awesome and wonderful enough to enter the gates of Heaven. What if we sin? Those of us who accept the sacrifice, and ask Jesus into our hearts, are now cleansed of sin. “ ‘Come now, let us settle the matter,’ says the LORD. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are as red as crimson, they shall be like wool ” (Isa. 1:18). If we have Jesus, we are forgiven through Christ! We no longer have to fear God’s judgment. We can’t get into Heaven without Jesus, because sin cannot be in the presence of God. It separates us from Him. Besides, God has promised us a perfect paradise in Heaven. The tiniest sin would spoil it, just like it did when Adam and Eve sinned in the garden. Isn’t it humbling that God is willing to give us everything we could imagine, including eternal life, even when we don’t deserve it? God offers us a free gift, His Son, Jesus Christ. When we accept the gift, we are receiving eternal life, and the salvation of our souls.

I’m so thankful for Jesus. I’m only good because he lives in me. Though I mess up and make mistakes over and over again, God forgives me, erasing all my sins: past, present, and future. Having a relationship with Jesus means he will help me to become more like him each and every day. I have to be willing to pick up my cross and follow Jesus. When I do this, God will bless me along the way. God gives me good things…not because I deserve them…but because He loves me, and He wants to bless me. And when I die, I will get the biggest reward of my eternal life…a reward which I don’t deserve, but a reward which I will eternally grateful to have; a life in Heaven with God, and His Son Jesus Christ, and all those I love who know him…amazing, incredible, paradise…and it will never, ever end!

“Then he said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me’ ” (Luke 9: 23).

Part 1 in the 5-part Compassion Series: “Being Compassionate to Yourself through Jesus Christ”

Titles in this Compassion Series:

“The Good Life…Do We ‘DESERVE  IT?’ “

“You are Worthy”

“Be Good to Yourself”

“Why Am I So Hard on Myself?”

“Battling Lies that Hurt Us”

 

 

Avoid Being Deceived in End Times

We are living in end times, a time of high deception. Though we do not know the day Jesus will return, God reveals many signs in the bible, and tells us to watch for them, so we will be prepared for our Messiah’s second coming. Elevated deceit is a big red flag for end times. But, because deceit comes cleverly disguised, it’s difficult to know when it’s present. We must constantly and consistently pray against it. 

Christians are not immune to being deceived by others, so we especially need to be praying, and actively reading God’s Word. The bible contains instructions on how to both identify and avoid deceit. We also need to ask God to fill us with His Holy Spirit, and to point us towards the truth. 

Matthew 24 should be read by every Christian. It discusses the incredible deceit that will overwhelm the world during end times. It gives explicit instructions on how to identify the antichrist, who will set himself up in God’s holy temple, blaspheme the name of God and demand to be worshiped. As if that weren’t horrific enough, people will witness the greatest deception of all, “The ‘abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel ” (in Matt. 24: 15) which will signal the end of the world as we know it: the antichrist will claim to BE GOD! 

People will fear the antichrist and follow him to avoid being killed. But they will also be fooled by the miracles of the antichrist, and blindly choose to follow him, based on having fallen for his lies, because they have refused to accept God’s truth! This is spoken of in 2 Thessalonians, chapter 2. The people’s reverence for the antichrist will come from the greatest deception ever known. They will think he has come to save the very people he cannot wait to destroy!  “He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God” (2 Thess. 2:4).

The silver lining is that the “abomination of desolation” will not be overlooked, and it will not go unpunished by God. In fact, it will signal the arrival of the second coming of Jesus! Jesus will come to save us, and he will destroy the antichrist! “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven,with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other” (Matt. 24: 30-31 New International Version). This is also spoken of in the 12th book of Daniel. We don’t have to fall for deception. For Christians, there should be no confusion about where Jesus is or who he is. God clearly says not to listen to anyone at all who claims to know where Jesus is. God says Jesus will find us, and come get us! 

We will escape having to experience unimaginable peril and distress, such as the world has never known. We will also escape Hell, as we go to live eternally with Jesus in the Kingdom of Heaven. As we wait for Jesus to return, our job is to share the gospel with those who are dying in deception. It will become more and more difficult, for people to see and hear the truth: All people can have life through salvation in Jesus Christ. 

“Jesus answered: ‘Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, “I am the Messiah,” and will deceive many’ “
(Matt. 24: 4-5).

“At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time”  (Matt 24: 23-25).

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life”
(Galatians 6:7-8).

“For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve” (2 Cor. 11:13-15).

“The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron” (1 Tim. 4:1-2).

Tell the world about Jesus, while there’s still time. Even if the world does not end today, many people’s lives do. Jesus is the one and only way to the everlasting! Share his love with everyone you know! “If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faithand of the good teaching that you have followed” (1 Tim. 4:6).

  

Sheepish Character? False Christians Cause Division! (Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing)

Taking an honest look into the character of the people around us, is one way to find out which people are actually wolves in sheep’s clothing.  It’s not that difficult, but it means we need to open our eyes to what the bible has to say about character, and then be willing to accept the truth, when we see the red flags.   Many people don’t want to face the fact that someone they know, and love, could be a wolf, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.  False Christians will cause division in your home, church, circle of friends, and communities.  

What is a false or fake Christian?  In the New Testament, the apostle Paul warns,  “I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned.  Keep away from them.  For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceived the minds of naive people” (Romans 16:17-18 New International Version).  They are not serving God, but they pretend that they do.

Have you ever had a positive relationship with someone, that was mainly a pleasant encounter for both of you? There was no animosity or hard feelings between the two of you; things were just fine?  Suddenly, out of the blue, that person started to avoid you.  If she called now and then to say hello, it stopped.  Comments on social media ended.  Your emails and text messages were ignored.  You knew that this friend or acquaintance was no longer just busy. Then something clicked.  You realized that your friend recently spent time with someone who has something against you; a gossip.  The gossip will not admit it, but she considers you to be an enemy, and she has once again slandered your name.  You’re well aware of it, because it’s a continuous, vicious cycle.  “A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends” (Proverbs 16:28).

By paying attention to the scriptures, we can protect ourselves from getting involved with a wolf in sheep’s clothing. These false Christians may speak like Christians, act like Christians, and appear to be walking like Christians.  But something is always off.  They are bitter and angry.  They are not growing.  They are not walking with The Lord.  For a variety of reasons, they are faking it.  You can visibly witness a true Christian’s walk with Jesus.  You will see him grow, and change over time. Christians actually lose their desire to sin, and they allow the Holy Spirit to open their hearts, guide them, and mold them into people who become more like Jesus.  Jesus doesn’t gossip and gather people to hate others.  He gathers them to spread love.

God acknowledges, in the bible, that there are people close to us, in our own churches, friendship circles, and families, who are fake Christians.  Jesus was betrayed by Judas, one of his own disciples. “Watch out for false prophets.  They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves” (Matthew 7:15).  The wolf, is an excellent actor, one with plenty of practice building a life around manipulation and lies. Some wolves hope to win you with self-pity.  They make it seem as if the world is against them.  They may visit your church, corner you when you’re alone, and tell you a sob story to make you feel sorry for them.  Some seek to use and con you for easy money, playing both you, and the system at the same time.  Some use flattery to try and win you over.  “Whoever flatters his neighbor is spreading a net for his feet” (Proverbs 29:5).  

Other wolves will gossip, slander, and stab people in the back.  They hope to build an army of people who will hate the same people they hate.  They work to isolate the victims of their lies, so no one will talk to each other and find out the truth.  They don’t want to be alone in their sin, because then they would have to face the truth about themselves. If they are able to deceive us when we are already in the word of God, imagine the havoc they can create for those who are not reading the bible on a continuous basis.  God hates this kind of behavior, and He promises to take care of it; “Whoever slanders their neighbor in secret, I will put to silence; whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart, I will not tolerate” (Psalm 101:5).  The bible is the tool that helps us to see through the manipulation and lies!

A wolf uses guilt in a cunning way.  She may try to make you feel bad for not spending more time with her, for not returning a phone call, or for spending time with other friends, especially if she has gossiped to those people about you.  Some wolves in sheep’s clothing are so good at getting their way, they will even manipulate you into doing their dirty work!   “Oh, I would never do that,” we might say. But if you’ve ever spoken on behalf of someone else, and jumped in on a whim to try and “help” them solve a problem that does not concern you, you’ve enabled the wolf to continue in sin. Who wants to help a wolf, and risk getting ripped to pieces?

“We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive.  They are not busy; they are busybodies” ( 2 Thessalonians 3:11). Haven’t we all at one time, found ourselves ignoring someone else, because of a rumor we heard about that person?  We felt so sorry for the wolf, we may have actually missed out on the truth of who was really being mistreated.  If you find yourself in a situation where you are no longer talking to a friend or relative with whom you previously enjoyed a relationship, because of some gossip you heard, consider that to be a red flag. Maybe letting go of the friend was subtle, such as dropping her from your party invitation list, or not stopping to have a quick chat in the grocery store when you normally would have.  Are we willing to give up friendships based on another’s perception, or will we be paying close attention to the character of the gossip and not fall prey to devious schemes?

A manipulating wolf will tell bold-faced lies, creatively weaving them with the truth, to make them sound more believable. Manipulators tend to blame and project their problems and issues onto an innocent scapegoat, in an effort to keep people from seeing the truth.  Being aware of these tactics enables us to remove our blindfolds, so that we can avoid being deceived by those trying to hide their own sin. After all, “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him” (Proverbs 18:17 English Standard Version).  When we hear things about others that don’t line up with their good character, we should question the character of the gossip.  We should ask God why we are in the situation as a listener.  Were we cornered or tricked?  Are we being persuaded to get involved? Are we strong enough to rebuke the wolf and say we won’t be part of it?

In grade school, we learn about the common denominator.  A wolf in sheep’s clothing causes strife everywhere he goes.  Strife is the opposite of peace.  Have you ever spent time with someone, in varied environments, situations, and company, and later realized that every time you’re with this someone, you just don’t feel good after your time together?  Maybe afterwards, you feel anxious, guilty, angry, or depressed?  This person is the common denominator!  A wolf stirs up stress, problems, and drama.  He brings out the worst in everyone: jealousy, envy, hate, self-righteousness, pride, and more.  Isn’t it interesting that every time the wolf leaves your home, you end up feeling …down?  That’s because evil spirits at work have been having a field day.  “An arrogant man stirs up strife, But he who trusts in the Lord will prosper” (Proverbs 28:25 New American Standard Bible).

A wolf in sheep’s clothing will be extra eager to tear apart a Christian brother or sister. Godly people do not do this. They seek to establish boundaries, take time to heal and forgive others, and allow others to do the same.  They seek restoration of relationships, yet they also know which relationships are harmful, and which ones need to be cut off, whether for short term or long term.  The opposite of a wolf, is a true Christian walking with God.  A true Christian seeks to lift up others and encourage them.  You can look at the character of a true Christian, when deciding who you should believe and trust.  If you’re in a difficult situation, and think you may be dealing with a wolf in sheep’s clothing, look at the character of the people involved.  “But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging, and comfort” (1 Corinthians 14:3 NIV).  You should feel good about yourself after spending time with a Christian who is walking with God.  Love should emanate from then, and your heart should feel joyful.  You should have a sense of peace after you have spent time together.

It can be difficult sometimes, when we are battling the truth, but if we spend time praying, reading our bibles, and talking to God, He will teach us who we can trust.  Pray against deceit.  Ask God for wisdom, and He will “pull the wool from your eyes”. We may be saved by grace, but are we walking the Christian walk?  Let’s follow Jesus, the great shepherd, rather than blindly going along with what the rest of the flock believe.  Don’t let a wolf steal you away.  Let the Lord be your shepherd.

What to do…

… if you’re a wolf:

Ask God to forgive you for being deceitful. Come clean, and ask forgiveness of those you have lied to and lied about.  Seek out a Christian counselor who can help you identify your sinful patterns and help you onto a path of healing.

… if you’re an enabler

Ask God to forgive you for being an enabler.  Ask God to give you the courage to say no to people who gossip. Ask Him to show you how to create healthy boundaries.  Ask forgiveness of anyone you have hurt with your enabling.  Seek Christian counseling, if you feel you may be getting involved with others’ problems to make up for past pain that needs healing.

 

5ad0d-img_3012
© 2014 Photography – Jacob Pelleman
“For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases.  As charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife.  The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the innermost parts of the body” (Prov. 26:20-22).

Read more about this topic in Pursue the Shepherd to Escape the Wolves, and by clicking on the topic narcissism at The Silver Lining homepage.