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Lessons Learned From Little Red Riding Hood

By Brock Hartwigsen

religion, articles, christianity

Lesson one - Beware: In the story of Little Red Riding Hood the Big Bad Wolf got into Red's grandmother's house and ate her. Then he dressed up in granny's night clothes and climbed into her bed to fool Red so that he could catch her off guard.

This is very similar to something Jesus talked about in the Sermon on the Mount when he said, "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves" (Matt. 7:15). Today the church is troubled with "false brethren" (2 Cor. 11:26) and "false teachers" (2 Pet. 2:1) who dress up in "sheep's clothing" or as "ministers of righteousness" (1 Cor. 11:13­15) but in reality are nothing more than "ravening wolves." They go about "seeking whom [they] may devour" (2 Pet. 5:8) just as the wolf sought to devour Red.

Lesson two-Probe: When Red got to grandma's house she noticed that something appeared to be wrong. So she started politely probing the wolf with some challenging statements. "What big eyes you have grandma!" "What big ears you have grandma."

Red must have been a student of the Bible, for she did exactly what John told the church to do in 1 John 4:1 when he wrote, "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." When Red saw that everything wasn't kosher, she didn't ignore it but started trying the wolf with her questioning statements. Likewise, Christians today should not just bury their head in the sand when something looks fishy. We also must politely probe and question to find out who or what we are exactly dealing with.

Lesson three-Evasion: The wolf never really lied to Red, he just didn't answer her questions. He just twisted the question around and simply tried to reassure her that everything was OK. When challenged with "What big eyes you have grandma!" instead of addressing the problem that grandma's eyes were too big he responded "All the better to see you with my dear." In his response he was attempting to reassure her that with his big eyes he could be a better grandma and better watch out for her. He did this with the next questioning statement. "What big ears you have grandma!" He responded, "All the better to hear you with my dear." Again evading the issue and reassuring her that with his big ears he could be a better grandma and better listen to her.

Likewise, false brethren and false teachers who dress up in sheep's clothing are masters of deceit. When asked questions they use different tactics to avoid having to answer the questions and to be exposed for what they are. Sometimes, like the wolf, they try to change the subject, to alleviate our suspicions by reassuring us of their love, humility and piety. Other times instead of simply answering honest questioners, they question the questioner's motives. A third tactic used by these wolves is to inform the one questioning them that to respond to the question is below them and they are too important to waste their time with such things.

Lesson Four-Persistence: To her credit Red wasn't fooled by the wolf's answers. No, she kept probing and finally asked, "What big teeth you have grandma." Realizing that he was finally found out, the wolf responded, "All the better to eat you with my dear" and jumped out of the bed after her. But Red, already on her guard, was able to elude the wolf until a friendly hunter came by and helped her.

With persistence false brethren and false teachers who dress up in sheep's clothing can also be flushed out. But beware, when flushed out they often expose their true nature and become spiteful, cruel and will viciously attack the prober. That is when, like the hunter, we need to come to the aid of each other and help each other to prevail over the false brethren and false teachers who seek to destroy the Lord's church.

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Published July 1997