Save Us From Our Wolves

a charcoal drawing of a wolf stalking a lamb
Public Domain

The 70 listened carefully to their instructions. Each pair was assigned an area the Lord Himself was to visit. They would take nothing with them, even shoes. Willingness to feed and provide for them would be a test of the worthiness of those they would contact and teach. At each door they would begin with "Peace be to this house." If the people responded in peace, these missionaries were to bless the home with their peace and accept food and drink as offered. In cities where they were  received, these representatives of Christ were to offer healing and the assurance that "the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you."

Christ often used the image of Himself as the shepherd loving and caring for His sheep, as assured by the beloved 23rd Psalm. "He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake." But then—"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death." Would they walk in these paths? Christ told them, "I send you forth as lambs among wolves." Wolves would threaten the 70 lambs and the lambs they would bless and teach.

Recognize What Does Not Change

The adversary has sent wolves—then and today.  Though they may try to disguise themselves, their deadly strength and their sharp teeth threaten Christian believers. As 7-day Christians, we must learn to recognize them and struggle against them to rescue His sheep.

Today's wolves lurk in different cultures and contexts, with 21st century tools. But their sharp claws haven't changed. The internet site "" warns that wolves attempting to disguise themselves as sheep try to appear harmless outside but have "bad intentions on the inside." If these characteristics, adapted from those on the site, seem familiar, they are.

1.Wolves are greedy for power, but use "fake humility" to pretend that they are not.

2.They may pretend to be concerned about others, but obviously love only themselves.

3.They manipulate people as they "twist the situation . . . making others feel confused and unworthy."

4.When they are corrected, they turn "guilt and shame" on others.

Another Christian site mentions that "Paul, James, Peter, John, and Jude all warn about wolves    . . . infiltrating the flock, introducing another gospel, and rending the sheep."  Many attack Christianity overall or a particular denomination. Others use their teeth and claws on Christian values and lifestyles or on prominent Christian leaders.

Let's look at those who grasp at young, particularly vulnerable lambs; those who use tech teeth on lambs of all ages and sensibilities; and those who target sheep in particular need of 7-Day Christians' care.

Save the Young Lamb

When Jesus instructed the 70 to feed and heal those who accepted them, He must have been especially anxious for the feeding and care of the young lambs. As he had tenderly taught, "Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3).

Blessings, Dangers

Schools should be places of learning; of positive social experiences as children work and play together; of opportunities to share interests, books, music, and ideas. But small wolf imitators can be found on any preschool or elementary school playground, joined by maturing wolves who have reached the age of accountability. Middle schools and high schools have become wolf breeding grounds. "Bully" is the 20th century name for these wolves.

Child study research identifies bullies as those whose words or behaviors seek to control, injure. or embarrass others. Bullies repeat their  physical, verbal, and/or psychological aggression frequently over time, for self-gratification. Boys tend to bully physically, while girls use more social and psychological meanness.   If the emphasis on power/control, self-centeredness, and manipulation of physical, verbal, and psychological factors seems to echo the characteristics mentioned for adult wolves, it does.

Christians, Shepherds

Christian leader Dale Renlund, although American and  Christian, grew up in countries where neither was accepted. Classmates blamed him for American foreign policies and Christian teachings, which they resented. He learned personally the pain of bullying and prejudice. He teaches worldwide against these wolves today.

Seven-day Christians involved in an elementary school (by career, employment, or volunteer work) need to know how to identify bullying in order to reach out to victims and to report  incidents to stop irreparable damage to the victims and the perpetrators. If your school does not have a reporting system or site, march straight into the principal's office.

Some Christian churches have members selected to help suffering or troubled children and/or youth. Some who hesitate to involve their parents will talk to an extended family member, a neighbor, or a parent of a friend.

Beware of Tech Teeth

At the time the 70 were sent forth, stoning was one of the punishments of choice. The Savior was threatened with stoning, as were many of His followers who died. Stoning isn't practical in the 21st century, but persecution, injury (or occasionally death) by technology can be effective substitutes.

Sheepfold and Wolves

Many blessings are available through and facilitated by technology, if purposefully used by those who know how. All ages learn. Toddlers learn colors, truck names, numbers, and the alphabet from catchy songs. School children find information for school projects and answers to their questions from the internet. Adults learn anything from curry recipes to serious academic research. Social media help families, friends, school groups, committee members, and many professionals within and between workplaces to communicate easily.

But lurking behind the same screens, keyboards, menus, links, email accounts, and reference sites are angry wolves with tech teeth. Media are filled with hateful, hurtful attacks.

One loving Christian family did not realize until their 14-year-old daughter attempted suicide that a student at her school had been flooding her phone with messages to convince her that she was so ugly, dumb, silly, rejected, and worthless that she shouldn't be allowed to live; so she should kill herself. The victim hadn't told her family because she was embarrassed and ashamed.

Tragic—not unusual. This beautiful, intelligent, talented, well-liked teenager believed the vicious wolf more than her loving shepherds. With devoted family support and some counseling, this precious lamb was saved. Not all are rescued in time.

Widespread attacks, especially on social media, will target groups—including those with racial, ethnic, religious, socio-economic, cultural, geographic, educational and LGBTQ differences—and just about any other divisions one can think of to split humanity. Commonly school and other mass shooters seek understanding and acceptance in social media. Angry former Christians recruit others eager to join the wolf patrol, as do those who use dangerous substances.

Warnings and Precautions

Tech dangers are so widespread and complex that "cures" cannot be guaranteed.  Some Christians have useful suggestions for individuals and families that can also be adapted for neighbors and congregation members who ask 7-Day Christian friends for help.

1.Instead of making endless "rules" and "restrictions," help family members "righteously exercise moral agency . . .  in accordance with the doctrine of Christ." Remember that the only truly effective filter is in "the heart and mind" of dedicated Christian followers.

2.Everyone needs to "be careful and not casual in our use of technology."  Devices "need to be our servants, not our masters.

3.As families, learn to use tech devices "for specific purposes."  "Decide beforehand what you intend to do and how much time you will spend." Research shows people encounter more problem content during casual web surfing.

4."Learn to recognize patterns in . . . thoughts, feelings, or behaviors" that make family members more vulnerable. Avoid these patterns and help younger family members to identify and stop using them.

5.The adversary has success using "secrecy and isolation to lead people into darkness, the Lord encourages us to seek light through honesty and truth."

Christians can flood social media and other internet sites with posts sharing the joy of their positive beliefs and life styles, their love for important people in their lives, examples of their "heroes" (past and present), and other healthy contributions for sheep who need feeding.

Reach Out to Vulnerable Sheep

As He sent out His 70 "labourers into His harvest," Christ told them, "He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me." Today many are eager to "despise" Christianity. As the Savior knows, we also know we cannot save everyone, but we can help others avoid wolves as we are able.

Individuals and Groups

Dale G. Renlund, a Christian leader who has lived worldwide, explained, "[We] must, like the Savior, reach out to others with compassion and love. Our role is also to help and bless, lift and edify, and replace fear and despair with hope and joy."

Recalling a Christian woman who had heavy family and professional responsibilities, along with poor health, an admirer who knew her only casually expressed to a public audience gratitude for the encouraging by-name greetings and personal life questions from this woman—even passing on the street. A simple gesture of caring and respect has power to comfort and lift. Many need this consideration badly.

Sometimes we know specific needs of vulnerable sheep. Another 7-day Christian woman had a friend in her congregation who was mourning the death of a son. She also had a friend who was worried over her job loss. The 7-day Christian invited these two women to her home, along with some outgoing positive friends. Before long everyone was talking, comparing their feelings, their fears, their hopes, and their Christianity. People can help drive away each other's wolves. The entire group decided to continue meeting.

Example and Assurance

An example of Christian love and courage can banish wolves and share the joy of shepherds. A younger Christian woman had suffered her entire life with an inherited disability. She had endured more pain and daily struggle than most people can imagine. Obviously an occasional wolf would creep by. But at her recent funeral, every prayer spoke of gratitude for the blessings of knowing and loving her and for the hope all felt in Christ's gift of eternal life. Every talk added that this young woman did not let her difficulties stop her or define her.

Throughout her life, this "victim" met problems with determination and humor. She had difficulty learning to read; but when that wolf was behind her, she became an avid reader, also composing stories of her own to share. With increasing things she could not do, she did what she could—sometimes with startling results. Her family was full of loving shepherds, from grandparents to young children.

A favorite song expresses the scripture of Christ's 70's departure, as well as this discussion of today's wolves and sheep.

Consider the sheep of His fold,

How they follow where He leads.

Though the path may wind across the mountains,

He knows the meadows where they feed.

He clothes the lilies of the field,

He feeds the lambs in His fold,

And He will heal those who trust Him,

And make their hearts as gold.

12/2/2022 8:16:18 PM
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  • Brad Wilcox
    About Brad Wilcox
    Brad Wilcox has lived in Ethiopia, Chile, New Zealand, and Spain; he and his family now make their home amid the Rocky Mountains in the United States. Brad taught sixth grade before obtaining his PhD in education. His contributions as an author and teacher have been honored by the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and his work has appeared in Guideposts magazine and Reader's Digest. He once served as a member of the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America and has addressed thousands of youth and adults across the globe. He and his wife Debi have four children and nine grandchildren.