“Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves” (Matthew 10:16).
I entered the back of the lecture hall, unsure that I should be there but the flyer dangling from the poster board in Folwell Hall had stated it was a free lecture by one of the university’s renowned fiction professors, and I was, after all, an English major. I slid my messenger bag onto the floor and took a swinging metal bucket seat.
The details of a story the professor was writing began escalating as did my discomfort. A casual turn of phrase here, a little joke there, the hall snorting at the notion of prudish writing, and my neck was burning. I felt that nauseating need to leave before I heard more details about his intimate life but I was boxed in by a whole row of other students. I feigned an urgent bathroom need using the universal hand signal for EMERGENCY (both palms raised, eye brows lifted, mouth ajar) and escaped.
Later I ran into that same professor in a social setting. “How did you like the description of my novel?” he asked, slurping a drink. “I didn’t,” I responded flatly. “Also, I had to leave early.”
How many times have you been cornered by someone, put on the spot about approving of their choices that went against your moral code? I’m pretty sure it’s a universally numerous experience. Could I have stood up and denounced the guy right on the spot? Sure, I guess, if I wanted to be dragged away by security. But when I did have the chance to be shrewd as a serpent, both telling him he was gross and evading being kicked out of my program, I took it.
We can’t always snare the wolves in a trap because often, we are the semi-helpless sheep. Consider how you can still speak truth and act in good conscience in the next sticky situation. Prepare your mindset to be shrewd but simple. And I’ll be praying for you.Speak truth. // Nell O'Leary Click To Tweet
Thank you for being here.
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