Jesus said to the twelve, "See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles. When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved." Matthew 10:16-22
One of the challenging things to my faith and ministry have been times where folks have put their own agendas first, and worked to take down others who didn't agree. The church is not exempt from human politics, from sociopaths and broken people who need to win at all costs. We are often naive, myself included, expecting those in places of authority to be healthy and fair. Humans are prone to animal instincts, and hungry hurt animals are dangerous, particularly to the undefended and unaware. We have never been promised an easy road, but sometimes it can wear us all down.
Jesus warns his disciples about the depravity of others, even among believers. We are to be innocent and wise, and strong in our faith despite the abuse of others. We are invited to have our eyes open and not be foolish about who we trust. God invites us today to take seriously that attacks and betrayal are a normal part of the life of faith and that we are never, ever alone in facing the worst folks can dish out.
Today I ask God to renew my faith and strengthen my heart. May we all remember that the broken will strike out, but that we are held in the hands of a loving Creator.