29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
Jesus warned the people that false prophets would arise and now Paul is doing the same thing. It is important for us to heed this warning as well. The devil works in ways that always seem reasonable. Lies are made to look like truth, and division weakens the whole. Paul goes on to warn that some of those false prophets will come from within the group. One would think that it is easy to distinguish truth from fiction, but it’s more difficult than we think.
Usually, these lies are hidden in some truth. We think that if part of what we are told is true, then the rest of it must be as well. Media is a perfect example of how this works whether the lie is hidden in a picture, music or written message. Sometimes the message is subliminal. In the old western movies, all the good guys wore white hats and the bad guys wore black.
The message? White is good, black is bad. Left-handedness was considered an evil sign at one time. Jesus was portrayed in art as blond and light-skinned even though as a Jewish man from the Middle East, he most likely would have had dark hair and dark skin. Hitler used false information, lies repeated over and over in the news media of the time to convince people that the Jews were the “murderers of Jesus and should be annihilated.” The Bible was misquoted to convince people that slavery was the will of God.
Today, justice and morality are victims of the media. According to the media, there is no more sin, the commandments are old-fashioned and we are free to indulge every desire for pleasure whenever and wherever we find it.
We spoke of freedom yesterday. Freedom is given so that we can love; it is not license to do whatever we please. Let us be careful to stay close to Jesus and not follow false prophets who want to tear Christianity apart.
Almighty and all-knowing God, you have warned us from the beginning of time to listen to you and not be led astray. Keep us close to you and give us the wisdom to be able to separate truth from lies. Amen.