I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.
Seeing the best in people is a great characteristic but it can get you into a lot of trouble if you’re not careful.
If you’ve ever pursued a relationship even when you sensed it was wrong for you, you know what I’m talking about. Instead of listening to the little voice inside telling you to be careful, you gave the person the benefit of the doubt and continued to allow them in…and later regretted it.
I’m not saying that it’s bad to give people the benefit of the doubt. To form healthy relationships, we need to extend acceptance and forgiveness. I like to call this attitude LAF, and it’s about choosing to love, accept and forgive others. We’re supposed to love unconditionally, accept people the way they are and forgive them when they offend us. However—and this is really important—we can’t get LAF confused with trust. Trust should always be earned.
In Matthew 10:16, Jesus shows us how to create great relationships. He says that we need to be “shrewd as snakes” in deciding who we can trust and “innocent as doves” in our own actions and intentions. The reality is, it just isn’t safe to trust everyone. We have to be shrewd. We need to keep our eyes wide open and be willing to wait for people to earn our trust.
Jesus doesn’t tell us to be blind as bats; he’s telling us to wise up and wake up!
Be sure to take your time with new relationships. It’s wise to test people out gradually over time before you begin to rely on them where it really counts.