There have been two times in my walk as a Christian when I have encountered two separate individuals who I can now easily define as wolves in sheep clothing.
One individual was more vicious than the other, but the spirit was the same. It greatly saddens me that these kinds of things go on in the body of Christ, and too many innocent sheep are left in the carnage. There is a reason God commanded us not to be ignorant of Satan's devices (2 Cor. 2:11) and to be on the lookout for wolves lurking in the flock (Rom. 16:17-27).
Having just survived another attack from one of these individuals, I found myself looking at how the situations I've walked through can become fertilizer for others—and me—to grow. It amazes me in talking to others in the body of Christ how many have similar stories of attacks and survival I've heard. God does not want you to stay a victim the rest of your days. He wants you to remember He has created you as a victorious one.
Here are some ways I've learned how to get up and keep moving forward:
- Separate yourself from this wolf. Sometimes this is easier to do than at other times. Sometimes these relationships can be complicated, but no matter what the wolf may say, this person isn't right with God, and you need to run from them. There are times you need to face the situation before you flee, but stop allowing yourself to be around them anymore. Furthering the relationship will just prolong the attack.
- It is not your fault. In the wolf situations I encountered and in other stories, there is a common thread: Victims will often blame themselves for the attack. People set and replay the situation in their heads over and over until it borderlines unhealthy behavior. The attack happened, but it's not your fault. You have to let it go. You have to stop rehearsing what happened.
- Forgive. I know forgiveness is a hard pill to swallow sometimes, but it's not for the other person I suggest you forgive. It's for you. You must forgive yourself and forgive the other person. Not because that person deserves it, but because God commands you to. That wolf in sheep's clothing is going to have to face God one day, just as you will. They aren't worth you losing any more sleep over.
- Stop trying to be right. You heard me. "Vengeance is Mine. I will repay," says the Lord (Rom. 12:19). Let go and let God deal with that person. The more you try to be vindicated, the more it will drag out. Let God turn this situation around.
- Refuse to be a desolation in the House of God. Do you know that these wolf encounters are to leave you so wounded that you don't pursue your destiny? Tamar in the Old Testament was raped by her half-brother. It was a pretty messed-up situation. The Bible says that Tamar ended up being desolation in her house. That means she never moved forward but was a bump on a log. Was she a victim? Yes. But she needed to move forward with her life. Many of us who have survived wolf encounters have survived the attack from people you thought were brothers or sisters in the Lord. This spiritual violation can leave you desolated and want to crawl into a corner and cry. But you cannot let this happen. You must find a way to move forward. Tears may be justified for a night, but allow that joy to come in the morning. Even if you feel as if you are taking baby steps, you must allow God to heal you and move forward.
- Return to the shepherd. If you've been attacked by a wolf, the wolf tries to drive a wedge between you and God, and often you and your pastor. So once you've realized you've been wolf bait, then make sure you are surrounding yourself with godly people. Pray to God and allow Him to heal this wound. It was not God's will you were attacked but allow Him to make some good out of it and walk you through it.
- Just say no to fear. The devil wants you to stay in your own world, because you fear another attack. But the Bible commands us that "God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and self-control" (2 Tim. 1:7). I can't promise you another attack won't happen, but I can promise you that you must realize God is bigger than anything the devil tries to throw at you. If God is for you, then who can be against you? Be strong. Be bold, and trust in God.
- The Bible commands us to "be wise as serpents and harmless as doves" (Matt 10:16b) The next time you're in a situation, practice more wisdom. Set back and examine at the fruit in someone's life. I'm not saying become their judge or that even godly people can't have a fleshly moment. However, notice the patterns in their lives. When you tell them no, how do they react? How do they treat their spouses? How do they refer to their pastors? Are they teachable? Are they correctable? Is their speech all about puffing themselves up? Do not be quick to get into ministry deals, relationships and business with people. Pray about the people you connect with and use the Holy Spirit as your guide.
There have been so many times that I have heard about situations in the body of Christ that make me cringe. You don't have to stay a victim. No matter what happened to you in the name of the gospel, remember that sometimes there is a big difference between God and people who claim to be His followers. Jesus came to set the captives free. Rise up, child of God, and determine to move forward. I believe if the devil hadn't been scared of your potential, that attack would never have happened. I know it hurts, but I also know you can get up! Fix your eyes on Jesus, and choose to keep walking!
Remember: God has awesome plans for your life. Get excited!
Anna M. Aquino is a published author, guest minister and prophetic voice. Her books Cursing the Church or Helping it?, Confessions of a Ninja Mom and An Ember In Time are available wherever books are sold. Marriage in Time is set to release in July of 2017. Please feel free to check out her website at annamaquino.com
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