“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? So, every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit. A sound tree cannot bear evil 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. Thus you will know them by their fruits.” (Mt 7: 15-20)
I have a strange thought today, regarding this warning of our Lord, about “false prophets.” And I’m thinking that we ourselves can be “false prophets” to one another, in our personal relationships, when outwardly promising the other kindness or support or even love, while inwardly being self-seeking or even “ravenous,” like “wolves.” I mean, we might want more to be served by the other, rather than to serve; to “get” something “out” of the other, beyond what is meet and true to him/her and his/her capacities and possibilities, rather than to offer compassion and understanding for the other’s limitations.
Today, if I find myself feeling dissatisfaction with another person’s behavior with regard to me, or if I’m asking questions like, Why didn’t he/she… (offer to help, or praise my work, or pay attention to me, or invite me to that thing, or respond adequately to my text, or whatever), let me stop and turn these questions around. Let me hand the behavior of others into the all-merciful hands of God, and ask Him to replace any “neediness” within me, or demands of others, with His ways of being, – of mercy, self-offering, patience, humility, and compassion. Lord, as we enter this second day of the Apostles’ Fast, let me start to ask the right questions, as to how I, and not someone else, can carry Your message, of cross-carrying love, a bit better into my relationships and my world. “Come and abide in us, and cleanse us of all impurity,” that we may be “true prophets” to one another, rather than “ravenous wolves.” And “save our souls, O Good One!”