Monday, February 25, 2008

Don’t Talk to Strangers

Parents emphasize to their children, especially their younger children, “Don’t talk to strangers!”

Parents know that their children have not developed the capacity to differentiate between those who are friends and those who are friendly. Acting friendly is not always the mark of a trustworthy person. Often, in fact, the more friendly that a person acts, the more markedly untrustworthy the person is. Many people act very friendly in order to hide their real intentions.

Children need to be protected. The less informed that the child is, the more that the parents need to protect the child. Loving parents recognize the need to keep their children separate from those who appear to be friendly, but are really quite the opposite. Even the schools teach this warning.

Parents know that the world is evil and full of evil people. Some very innocent looking people are in reality a terrible threat to helpless children. So the parents close their home securely against those who are not first carefully investigated and judged to be friends of the family.

Oddly, those entrusted with the oversight of God’s beloved children often treat this matter in a very different way. Pastors and church leaders often act as though people who act friendly towards God’s Church do not need to be carefully investigated before giving them free access to the household.

Yet through the Scriptures the Lord speaks the strongest possible warnings against those who have not come in through the narrow door. The Lord warns that there are many who make themselves appear as sheep, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. Sometimes these wolves are even those who pretend to be the shepherds.

Near the end of his epistle to the church in Rome the Apostle Paul says:

Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you. Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. (Rom 16:16-18)

Does this not sound very much like the admonition that dear parents give to their dearly beloved children?

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