Wise as Serpents, Innocent as Doves
“[S]o be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” -Matthew 10:16 (NRSV)
It seems the pandemic has given scammers new creativity in how they attempt to con people, and several have targeted faith communities. So this is a public service announcement for all of us. Your pastors and staff will never ask you directly—by email, text, or phone call—for gift cards or emergency money. If you’re in doubt, call the church office, but don’t reply to the number or email that contacted you. Also, if someone reaches out to you using a name you know but with a vague or unusual request, check to see if it is from that person’s real email or phone number or if it has been “spoofed.”
Just recently we received a request from someone that any one of us would have typically replied to with the desire to support. I might easily have been convinced by this request had I not just that morning been in conversation with colleagues around the country who had all received very similar, very convincing emails. It’s sometimes disheartening how serpent-wise we must be.
But Matthew also has Jesus encouraging his disciples to be innocent as doves. As with many other biblical offerings, the text doesn’t give a lot of description of what that looks like, but we can infer. Don’t let our hearts be hardened and our care for strangers become callused. Keep sharing, keep hoping, keep believing in goodness. With all the hate and hurt that the news bombards us with, we can seek to see the beautiful and holy that surrounds us.
Keep, wise, dear ones. Keep innocent, too.