Think of it this way . . .
The dilemma: Why are good people often duped and taken advantage of by malicious and crafty deceivers, because of the good people being ignorant of the evil ways of the world?
The answer is in the question. I don’t think for a minute that God intends for honest, virtuous people be abused and hurt by evil-hearted people. But He knows they are and knows they will be because of the evil forces at work among us.
Jesus told His followers, “I am sending you out as sheep among wolves.” Think how one wolf may wreak incredible havoc in a flock of sheep. Far worse, though, would be one sheep among a whole bunch of wolves! Thus, Jesus adds: “So be as shrewd (or wise) as snakes and harmless as doves.” Be like snakes?! Satan appeared to Eve and Adam as a serpent and with a certain power he beguiled and took advantage of them. They caved in and made a bad choice. Satan’s aim, being the great deceiver and destroyer of lives, finds him still working through wicked people preying mostly on naïve and unsuspecting folks.
May I suggest, then, that we, too, should be “shrewd” but in a well-intentioned, informed, and harmless way. I believe it would help if we also had a certain amount of “street-smarts” (wise) in order to successfully cope with the world. We don’t have to be so innocent and harmless that we easily fall prey to every malcontent who comes along. Apostle Paul tells us about Satan and gives us help to cope. He wrote: “So that Satan will not outsmart us for we are familiar with his schemes” (2 Cor. 2:11).
Know your enemy.
We cannot afford to be ignorant of Evil’s devices. So, keep your guard up. To be well-informed is to be well armed. Be sweet, but not a pushover nor a whipping post. Do good and be watchful. Trust in the ones who truly love you.
– John D.