To let Good Friday stretch our soul, let’s ask another question: “What made the Lord stay on the cross until the end?” That’s an important question because when you think about it, he didn’t have to. He could have changed his mind or given up anytime.
Certainly Jesus and the thieves were not alone on their crosses. The evil spirit was very much around, hovering over them.
The Lord did not see the last of the Devil in the desert, where he was tempted three times. The Devil was working overtime during those last moments of our Lord’s life. That, after all, is the way of the evil spirit: It works extra hard to tempt us especially whenever we are about to accomplish something good.
We can only imagine how the Devil was taunting our Lord:
“Give up now. All you need to do is say the word, and they will take you down from the cross and end your suffering. Look, your disciples are gone. Your enemies continue to mock you. Are these the kind of people who deserve redemption, who are worth dying for? What’s the point?”
But Jesus kept the faith and chose to stay on until his work was accomplished.
So what made him stay?
You would think that the experience of abandonment and the continued mockery by his enemies are pretty good reasons for him to give up and walk away from his mission.
There remains only one explanation: Love. Love without conditions.
When our Lord looked into the eyes of his enemies, he saw not just the hatred in their eyes, but the deep hurt that had produced that hatred.
On Holy Thursday, he shows us what loving our enemies means. On Good Friday, our Crucified Lord teaches us how to love our enemies and how we can respond to them when they hurt us and mock us.
As he did on Holy Thursday, our Lord subverts yet another so-called wise saying:
“Beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing.”
This familiar saying cautions us against enemies who pretend to be meek and gentle only to pounce on us when we’re not looking:
But our Lord does the exact opposite. He who can read hearts sees the small flicker of good in the hearts of even the most wicked among us. He recognizes that many people victimize others also because they themselves have been victimized. They’ve turned to evil only because they themselves have been terrified and traumatized, their hearts hurt and hardened.
Instead of bewaring of “wolves in sheep’s clothing,” our Lord asks us to look beneath the wolves in others and to recognize–and love–the sheep hiding in wolves’ clothing.
It is this recognition of the sheep in wolves’ clothing that enabled him to stay faithful to his mission on the cross. It is this that empowered him to keep saying “Yes” to God’s Will.
Again, it is a tall order. Just like the Holy Thursday invitation of “feeding the mouth that bites us,” Good Friday calls on us to do as Jesus has done: To forgive and to love those who hurt and persecute us.
If we want to keep the door to God’s heart wide open, we need to recognize these hidden sheep and like our Lord, keep saying “Yes” to love until the end.
How about you? When you look at your enemies and persecutors, would it be easy–or even possible–for you to recognize the sheep disguised in wolves’ clothing? If you’ve been able to do that before, what has helped you do that?
Share your responses and especially suggestions with your fellow online retreatants, if you wish.
151 replies on “What Made Him Stay”
Our Father sent His Son the Lord Jesus to heal and save His people, and yet we crucified Jesus out of our wickedness. But Jesus loved us enough to see the good in us, loved us enough to forgive us for what we had done to Him, and despite our wickedness and our sins.
The Lord has sent me to help others, yet I have been rejected and mocked by the very people I am helping.
Give me the grace, Lord Jesus, to see myself and my situation in the way that God and the Holy Spirit see me and my situation. Let me be a channel of your love, forgiveness, and generosity to the sheep in wolves clothing.
How do we ask forgiveness from someone who doesnt want to forgive? We feel so bad and regret everything that happened. We have tried to ask forgiveness but have been rejected. Please pray for us.
To see the sheep in wolves’ clothing is to see the face of Jesus in our enemies, to force ourselves to look deep and recognize the goodness in each human being.
The sad thing about coming across wolves is, you end up being tainted by the darkness on them. There’s a little bit of your innocence that gets taken from you. You learn that the world is not a safe place and your heart hardens a little with each encounter.
After meeting so many wolves, I’ve grown pretty good at spotting one. I’ve also learned how to be a wolf, too, by letting people think I’m harmless, not knowing I’m going to assess their character once they get closer. I’ve stopped being open, and there’s a lot of bitterness inside me.
The only good thing that came out of these encounters is, it only made me more determined to not be like them. I haven’t been totally successful because I took out my anger on my loved ones from time to time.
I can understand why wolves become wolves, but I can’t forgive the wolves in my life without God’s help. I’m not that strong. Especially those wolves who hurt my mom and my aunt… were it not for God, baka nakapatay na ako. Only God’s grace can tame my desire for revenge.
– It is not easy.
– It took me years to forgive my father. It was impossible to do it alone, but with God’s help, my heart is healing.
– My heart was recently broken too. Months after experience, I continued to pray for the person and for healing of my heart.
– It was difficult at first to recognise that they may have been hurt terribly too because I can say that that is no excuse to hurt other people. But God is not like that. God forgives. (Although I have to add that forgiveness may not immediately mean reconciliation with those who’ve hurt us).
– What has helped me heal and forgive are prayer, the Sacraments, and living a life of gratitude (seeking to see the light and good at all times).
Reading the responses here makes me feel blessed in a way. I feel for those who have been hurt and continue to hirt and I pray for your healing. I hinestly could not think of an enemy or a “sheep” in wolves clothing. Not anymore at least. 2-3 years ago, I had those and it was difficult because it was a time when I decided to join a prayer community. Now I think being in the community is what helped me cope and deal. There are people who have hurt me recently. One of them is my nephew that I really love and we decided to give him a lesson by giving him what he wants – to live with his other family. He has repeatedly lied and hurt us and the last straw was too much for me and my sister. But he has been reaching out to his siblings lately thatbhe is having a hard time yet he has never reallybsaid sorry for what he did. This Holy week he has entered my mind so many times. I am praying for wisdom and guidance on how to handle him. We want him to learn and be a better person.
I know that ultimately this should be our goal – to see the good in the bad, to see the sheep in the wolf. But it’s easier said than done. Sometimes our hurts are too deep that forgiving and forgetting is just not the option. Sometimes it’s easier to just walk away, especially when it’s the same characters, same situations.
Someday I may be able to forgive, to forget, to see the good. I am a work in progress.
Lately, as I get discouraged by false surveys, by lies becoming truths, by the smear tactics of certain candidates, the support they are receiving from those close to me, and the possibility of their winning the elections, I have thought and said that our country is going to the dogs. I feel bad because I love our country. Unconditionally I suppose. What if my candidates lose? Does love for country mean I will support the winning candidates? Will I see the sheep in them? How? How can we all work together to move our country forward?
I feel this too. I cannot imagine how a country that is proud of being Christian can have so many who elect into public office those who are very unChristian in word and deed. How can I see the sheep in wolves’ clothing? Help me, Lord. I feel so frustrated.
For me more than looking at my own enemies (which I do see and almost pity because of the pain they must have gone through to turn out like that), I think part of it also being able to recognize the good even in the people we are most familiar with.
I think with my own brother for example, there are things that he does that baffle me and make me question if I really knew him. And make me almost resent him because of how I USED to know him, but despite the flaws and almost inane actions he does, I guess it is important for me to see and find the good that is still there and nurture it rather than lock him into the kid I once knew him as.
Mahirap pantayan ang dalisay na pagmamahal ni Hesus sa sangkatauhan. Sa kabila ng lahat ng kahinaan ng tao ay binasbasan pa rin tayo ng Panginoon. Ngayon, dahil naranasan ng Diyos kung paano ang maging isang tao, maliban sa paggawa ng kasalanan, ay nagtagumpay si Hesus upang Siya ang maging daan sa pagitan ng tao at ng Diyos Ama. Hindi na tayo alipin ng kasalanan dahil alam ng Diyos ang lahat ng ating karupukan.
Ang hirap talaga. At one point in my career, I finally decided to quit. There was too much hurt that I felt it difficult to feel love for the other; I even felt unsure whether I loved myself, too. Or if I still respected myself. I decided to quit. And quit I did. It gave me the space to breath, and to forgive myself for allowing certain things to happen – not standing up for myself, not talking about the injustices, not telling the person to stop being mean to one’s co-workers (how to be angry without being mean?). I knew the other person was hurting and channelling the hurt into anger – anger that was expressed by being hurtful and mean to others. I saw the hurt, but I did not act on it. Instead, I allowed it to happen – I allowed the anger and the meanness to continue…. I had forgiven the other person for the hurt I felt. But it took me a long time to forgive myself for allowing certain situations to happen.
only when I quit did I gave myself permission to breathe… and forgive myself, then.
Relating this to current situations – when do we continue to allow meanness and anger and ‘bad’ things to happen? When we see the ‘hurt’ that the person(s) have experienced turning into actions to hurt others, how do we help so that the hurting actions would stop? When do we stop being enablers of continuing the cycle of violence? When do we realize that we may also be sheep-turning-into-wolves?
I don’t know why but I keep thinking of “sheep” friends who go out of their way to maintain our friendship, but who I take for granted, and then the “wolves” friends who I go out of my way for to maintain our friendship, but who seems to take me for granted. I have resolved to do my share in maintaining friendship with my “sheep” friends. But, instead of cutting ties with the “wolves” friends, since there may have a little bit of sheep in them, I am thinking of just keep on doing what I am doing since there may be a reason why they were brought into our lives.
It’s remarkable that wolves seem to have have no idea that they’re being wolves. They go worship at mass, give to charity, but they make it a practise to sow untruths, twist them and pit people against each other. There must be some deep hurt or deficiency in self esteem that drives them to do these. I am in disbelief. I can seek out the sheep waiting to be noticed & affirmed, “kill” them with kindness? Can they desist from their destructive behavior?
That is rather a good and difficult question to answer.
Unfortunately, as a human being we are not blessed by that certain gift which is to read people’s minds and know their intentions.
We can see and identify the signs of what makes an enemy or a prosecutor or judgemental Marites/Karens in our lives but that’s how human life is, it works with the many uncertainties of life and the world. We keep on striving to live our lives to the best of what we can do and create more linkages or human connections to all the people we meet here on Earth.
“look beneath the wolves in others and love the sheep hiding in wolves’ clothing.” Such a tall order. Made me think of the politicians who are running this elections all for their own selfish reasons. How can I recognize the sheep beneath those wolves’ clothing, knowing all the hideous things they did to our countrymen? I pray that God give me the wisdom and the grace to be kinder to those politicians by not saying bad words against them when campaigning for the good ones, while voting encouraging others to wisely for the sake of our country and our future generations.
My same thoughts, feelings and prayers!
It is indeed difficult to live out “radical love.” While it is easy to do in some cases, may mga pagkakataon din na mahirap talaga siyang gawin. Instead of answers, may mga tanong na nabuo sa reflections ko.
I’m thinking, isn’t it unfair? That I am here, living out radical/unconditional love while the other might not even care/recognize it? That they are not even remorseful for what they did (if they wronged me)? While I recognize that it stills your heart and peace, I also recognize the fact that I too have emotions and get hurt. Do they still deserve this kind of love even if, deep inside, it pains me? I know that if it truly is unconditional, it shouldn’t be painful – but we are humans too who has emotions and feel hurt.
And in a more grueling situation, how about those who did wrong to a lot of people? Like the plunderers and murderers running free now. If they caused a lot of hurt and difficulty in people’s lives, how do we forgive and show radical love to these people?
We easily label and judge people. When we see wolves, we distance ourselves from them for fear of getting hurt. I am guilty of this. I pray that the Lord may lend his eyes and heart to me so so I can look at the wolves and see the sheep in them. I can come closer and feel their pain. The sheep is waiting to be loved and accepted in order to gain the strength to be whole again.
As Fr. Johnny shared, what keeps me beleving and continuing to trust in the Lord is that small flicker of good in all of us. That’s why I pray, “God forgive me for all the times I have judged, misjudged the people I have encountered in this life.” 🥲🙏🙏🙏
Jesus, you know how I always ran for safety when I feel threatened or hurt, and yes, even from people who dislike me. It is so hard for me to stay on the cross, as you did. I ask for the grace to teach me how deal the difficult people in my life, how to deal the mess in my own life and how to stay in love in the midst of hurt. Amen.
I do see many sheep in wolves’ clothing. But for my own safety and peace of mind, I don’t engage with them anymore or help them as often.
Politics aside, totoo ngang radikal ang magmahal.
And while I usually fail to realise it, God indeed sent Jesus Christ on Earth to show that radical (and even unconditional) love to us. God became man so that He could facilitate a dialogue to us sinners and understand our context. And He loves us so much that He had to allow His son to suffer on the cross on our behalf.
But going back, forgiveness is such an ordeal, to be honest. Usually it takes some time for me to come into terms with what has happened. And until that day comes, I tend to relish in anger, frustration, and hatred towards the person. Eventually, though, I make serious efforts to understand the situation from the other person’s perspective. Sometimes it can be through talking to that person. But if that’s not possible, I just try to give them the benefit of the doubt by thinking that they did things because they were hurt or didn’t know what to do. Sure, that doesn’t justify things, but perhaps the most compassionate thing to do is to recognise where they came from.
I actually find it easy to find the sheep in the wolves’ clothing since it is like a default mode that i would want to know why a person is hostile to me or why a person betrayed me. Understanding the cause of betrayal and aggression is easy. Accepting it is another hurdle and definitely difficult.
From past experiences i would try to focus more on the reason of the hostile stance/ betrayal/ aggressive silence then have them in my circle again. Sadly the wolf shows up more than the sheep. Radical love is hard. At this point i am more inclined to stay on the wary side. I prefer to love from a distance….to put this concern and love into action without the risk of being “eaten alive “ again.
I beg for the grace of the kind of love that Jesus wants me to have at this time.
Hurt people hurt people. I am thankful for this timely reminder for me to love more and forgive more because I often find myself frustrated of the people dear to me who seem not to be learning from their past experiences of pain and hurt. As much as I want them to live better lives, I need to look into myself, convey respect and be nonjudgmental through it all.
I think I’m often the sheep in wolf’s clothing. I’m cloaked in the hurt of betrayal and these betrayal chipped away from the good I had or have. I choose to be selectively good or loving to people but I am hurt. I used to be the one who would look at a person’s context and say what they do may be rooted in something that deeply hurt them, try to be kind because that’s what they need even when they are unkind sometimes.
But when I was betrayed by those whom I loved the most, I just lost the ability. No, I don’t think all people are bad. I can still see most of us are simply hurt. I just try not to care anymore because it hurts.
I did my guttural cries and no one heard and honestly, some people didn’t care.
Lately, I have been thinking, beyond who God is in my life, who am I in His? Why am I so important for Him to care this much when I have been not the best I can be? I am still trying to discern what kind of mission I have for God but I know part of it is accepting and saying that I am not all right. I can’t be doing what He wants me to do when the struggle to be better is often a losing battle.
I didn’t expect to cry while reading this part of today’s reflection. When I tried to think of the wolves in my life, I was surprised to find myself. I’m most often my own worst enemy. There are days when I pretend to be good, even when there’s something bad brewing inside me, waiting to come out. And it is in that act of pretending that I feel the enemy’s grasp grow stronger.
But today’s reflection reminded me that even if sin is in me and all around me, God won’t abandon me. God is ready to welcome me again when I seek Him. And so I pray that I will always remember to seek Him, even in the darkest times.
And this is also how I can recognize the other sheep in wolves’ clothing, to remember that I am one of them. I am not the perfect sheep, and so I shouldn’t expect that from others too. Instead, we can work together to remind each other that God loves us, even in our brokenness.
Some helps discovered along the way
1. Every person is an asset, not seen as a problem. Unconditional positive regard for all.
2. There is good in everyone, paced out differently.
3. Belief that there’s a wolf in every sheep when provoked and a sheep in every wolf once trust is built
4. Recognizing that God as Our Father wants this of us, to be wise and to love God, self, and neighbor.
5. Working on ourselves to be more sheep than wolf so we can protect each other and know the Shepherd’s voice,
6. Stay connected to Our Lord for wisdom and strength be part of a community
Radical love is sooooo difficult to do. Finding something good in a person who has offended and/or hurt me is a very difficult exercise but we are called to follow His way. If he found it in His heart to forgive his tormentors, I should be able to do it also.
I have learned to spend time with the Lord more so He can fill me with His grace for I know His grace is enough. As I fill myself with His grace, I can feel His presence in me gaining confidence that with Him nothing is impossible. Then I ask the Holy Spirit to work in me and with me to empower me to think as HE thinks, to speak as He speaks, and to act as He acts. As I send time with the Lord in prayer, I spend more time in silence just listening and discerning God’s will for me. While I hear no voice, I recognize His voice in other ways – through billboards, through strangers, through dreams. Many times, I would doubt or question His will knowing my abilities and capabilities, but because I know He is with me, I am fast to trust that He will equip me with the tools necessary to do His will.
It is really hard to find the sheep in wolves’ clothing, but this is the commandment of Jesus; meaning, we have to do it. Though it is hard, I believe this is possible if we allow ourselves to be moved by the Holy Spirit. He is always there to help IF we allow Him to.
Dear Holy Spirit,
Strengthen me to soften my heart towards those I find hard to love – my enemies, those who have hurt me before, those who find little value of me, those who won’t love me back. Open the eyes of my heart to see the goodness in every person, how hard it may be, especially at time when judgment is easily passed on social media and not to resort on imposing righteousness just to end it. I know this is hard, that is why I turn to You, dear Holy Spirit, for me to love how You want to me love, what is to love truly according to Your will. Amen.
We are all wolves in sheep’s clothing n vice versa at one time or another in our lives. What do we do then? I guess we have to recognise the wolf/sheep in us. Turn to the Lord, pray earnestly for guidance and strength to right the wrongs
O Lord, hear my prayer.
O Lord hear my prayer. When I call, answer me🙏🙏
This I find very hard to do. It’s funny because when the year started, the resounding voice in my heart says that I love those who are hard to love. Since there is an urge in my heart, I’ve always tried to practice it. People especially at work can be so difficult to deal with sometimes. People in social media too. Even members in my family are a challenge. The fact that this is a message in this retreat affirms me that God tells me to keep on trying and that this is His mission to me — to be kind and see others as He sees them. I can’t tell enough how it is such a cross for me to bear, but I’m certain that by the grace of God and in Jesus’ Name, I can fulfill that mission.
I remembered one of my siblings…the black sheep or wolf so to say in the family….i never realized he may be a hurt sheep all these years …. yes Jesus stayed on the cross for him too.
Yes I recognize the “sheep in wolves clothing” in my “enemies”. I also realize when I am guilty of having raised the Wolf in them myself. I do not end the relationship, but it does not mean I do not set boundaries on the behavior.
Maybe I haven’t been so deeply “in love” with our Lord which is why i find it diffucult to answer the question, “What made him stay on the Cross?”
I pray that the “small flicker” in my heart shall turn into a “burning” desire to love God even at the presence of my persecutors or enemies.
I look into the mirror and see myself – a sinner who has been hurt by others and has hurt others. Just that thought alone slowly chips away from my unwillingness to forgive.
People who hate are people who hurt. I know and understand this. But to live with a person with so much hate and hurt can be difficult and exhausting. A person whose heart is full of hate and hurt can be unreasonable. It seems that the only way for an angry person to respond is to hurt back or to take revenge. It is a vicious cycle.
But then, I am reminded that there is still good. Because I still see it in the world around me. I see it in the people who reach out. I see it at work and in the places where I don’t expect it. So, I stay. Hopefully, that person sees it too.
It is still very difficult….specially if there is no reason I can understand…..but I am praying for the Lord’s miracle to happen within me so I may understand….
This made me realize all people are born as sheep but as the world’s pressures mount on society’s expectations, even myself became a wolf who used another layer of sheep’s clothing to get what I wanted.
But as I grew older and especially during the pandemic, no amount of material possessions can ever replace happiness and even the simple joy of having someone on sincerely care for you without asking for anything in return…
It’s still hard for me to forgive the wolves especially with some specific people… but am trying to make sure my longer table (from yesterday) will include them to close any unfinished business before joining our Yeshue.
It takes much conversion to be able to do this.
Even though I’ve heard this several times, even if I’ve promised it to the priest several times during confession, I never got to do it.
Situations always prevent me from forgiving. The best I could do is to tolerate the existence of the person I hate, but never to be close or do good to her.
Perhaps this is a grace that I should actually ask the Lord.
In the corporate world, there are many wolves in sheep’s clothing~ but by God’s grace now that i have retired…i no longer see wolves but sheep…i changed my perspective & realized that perhaps in those times i could have been seen as among the “wolves” & i am deeply sorry ~ He is a forgiving God regardless & that is Love w/o boundaries…🙏
This is very hard, indeed, to look for the sheep in the wolf’s clothing, especially in the heat of the moment, and when you continue to hurt because of someone. What helps me is to walk away for a while and to pray for this person, because I know my temper and I know I might say even more hurtful things when I am angry.
But also, I do not think that forgiveness means enabling the sins of another. So after I have prayed about the best way to go about it I do try to go back and give gentle but firm correction, or if that fails, ask for the help of someone else. This is very hard to do, and sometimes it’s easier to just simply stop trying, but what the reflection above is true, all of us have been hurt in some way, and continuing to act in hatred will never heal that. Only love will.
Thank you very much for teaching me this…to walk away momentarily, and pray. But to go back and give gentle, yet firm correction.
I have often met my teenage son’s negative behavior head on. I did not back down for fear that he would think he was doing something right.
It is so clear now what Jesus’ way is…love, humility, forgiveness.
Now, I realize how easy it is to forgive because of what you said…forgiveness does not enable the sin of another (the one who was wrong or hurtful).
I am always guided by the words of St. Teresa of Calcutta. “That if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”
And by my late husband’s words on those who persecute us “Treat them with kindness at all times and pray for them.”
I have not experienced any degree of persecutions to be able to say for sure that I would be able to see the sheep beneath the wolves clothing. It would be next to be impossible for me especially when people suffers inhumanely under those who are stronger, more powerful or are in position of power or authority. It takes ages for someone who have been hurt very badly to regain even a sense of their normal self as they suffer from PTSD. This would be excusing the deep hurt caused by the “shepherds” in the catholic church to the church and the people of God. I have no answer. It is just so imponderable. Of course, one has to forgive to gain freedom from the hurts one experience and not be held bondage; and this requires supernatural grace.
“Keep saying yes to love until the end.” So powerful and humbling. Thank you!
I am able to continue loving those who hurt me because of the graces and blessings God has given me. Instead of looking at the negative things or experiences, I look at the other half of my cup which is still full.
To see the sheep in a wolves’ clothing and to feed the mouth that bites our hands seem a tall order for me. I fervently pray that Jesus will grant me the grace of true forgiveness and mercy that I may be able to imitate His examples.
A gentle a soul, a good friend, told me four years ago that Holy Week is simple. It’s just about kindness. Learning to be kind. As he stayed in the cross then crying out in his very last breath, he did go through temptation and mocking. I see that now.
To see the hurt in his haters while dying in agony and forgiving them is a deep kind of kindness. I see that now.
People generally have good intentions but the impact of what they do is our perception which is what we control. We feel bad if we perceive the impact on us is bad. Always assume intent is good and find a way to understand the negative impact on us!
If I am God, all those who wronged me would be rained upon with fire and brimstone, then washed by floods until no trace of their existence remains. I could snap my fingers like Thanos and they will all be out of my life.
God could have done the same as I did, but he didn’t.
He could have snapped all our sins away. It would be quick, painless and neat. God created a world that is good, painless and neat, but I am guilty of adding pain and chaos into His creation. It would take a drastic action, like seeing my source of life, my Jesus, dying on the cross to make me stop what I am doing. Cut off my oxygen and you will get my attention.
He did it because I need to see what I have done. He did it to save me and others like me. If Jesus just snapped his fingers, my heart would still be the same.
Thank you, Ki. So funny and profound…I am so glad that Jesus did not just snap his fingers. I wouldn’t want to have the same selfish and unforgiving heart.
When I take the stance of an empathetic and compassionate counselor, I am able to see beyond the wolf-ness of a person and see her/him as a wounded one. Rather than wolves in sheep’s clothing, sheeps pretending to be wolves may be a more apt description. Only when I am able to do this shift in perspective am I able to become more understanding of such people and more loving to them.
I am not good at recognizing a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I always see the kindness in others, but realize too late that the kindness shown comes with a price. And yet, I still do not recognize wolves immediately. My wise and kind hearted boss told me that we should strive to be good and to help others be good so that there will be more good people than the wolves. When there are more good people, the wolves will come out no matter how they try to hide. And, hopefully, because there are more good people, the wolves will either be gone or transform and choose to be good, too.
We could only see the sheep in wolves clothing if we come from a place of love. Easier said than done, that is why we pray we pray for goodness and kindness to prevail. That we become the light that brightens our days and beats the darkness in the end.
Dear, God please help me learn to look for the good in people still (finding sheep in wolves’ clothing) even when the world continues to breed more wolves and lets me focus on them. I also have the blessing of having many good people in my own life, and please guide me on appreciating them even more.
How do we recognize “wolves in sheep’s clothing?” Sometimes by their own words and actions. Wolves in disguise will tell you what you want to hear and show you actions that you would like to see to win you over. Once you have let your guards down while near them, that’s when they can attack.
It saddens me that I cannot 100% be my true self amid such wolves. It makes me wonder if I too am being a wolf in sheep’s clothing to them. I hope and pray that people will stop being scheming and manipulative and just say what they mean and mean what they say.
another thing that struck me during this portion is the part that says, “When our Lord looked into the eyes of his enemies, he saw not just the hatred in their eyes, but the deep hurt that had produced that hatred.”
it reminded me about this campaign period. Apologies in advance to the supporters of Marcos Jr but the image of Marcos Jr and the like IMMEDIATELY came to mind when I read “wolves in sheep’s clothing.” But then I shifted to the sheep who fell for those wolves. What made them believe such wolves? What made them stay despite all the efforts of others to make them realize otherwise? I continue to pray for our country and our countrymen especially since this coming elections is critical in our country’s situation.
I once tried to extricate a sheep from the wolf’s clothing. I asked him, “What hurtful things happened to you that makes you bully me all the time?” He answered proudly, “Nothing hurtful has ever happened to me!” I said, “Then you have no reason to bully me!” I stopped trying to extricate the sheep. It seemed clear to me that he enjoyed the wolf’s clothing. It is my hope that Jesus will extricate him because I cannot.
A favourite priest said “Endure”
Endure the pain and heartbreak because of love. Not out of masochism, but out of love.
I see now that it is a love that sees the sheep in wolf’s ckothing that will allow me to endure with gladness in my heart:
Thank you for this revaluation, fr Johnny.
I needed this really.
Not until something finally revealed their nature! Most of the time, I only recognized in hindsight— after some misdeed of theirs or after getting hurt. Then I realize the ‘red-flags’ that have been there all along but I chose to ignore because they haven’t done any wrong to me (yet).
Difficult as it may, with lots of struggle, questioning and prayer about what’s ‘right’ to do, I learn to let them and things be. All in God’s time.
To find the sheep in wolves’ clothing is difficult to spot with 20-20 vision, because it’s something that can only be seen through the heart. I think of my dad and the many times he has hurt me, my siblings and my mother through incessant lies and cheating. It’s hard to see the sheep in him but I can only pray for him because I’m sure God loves him too.
One night, in prayer, I was listening to “Huwag kang mangamba” and made myself imagine God signing the song to people I thought were beyond salvation, like unnamed presidents here and abroad, some presidential candidates and their coterie, hateful trolls, and war-mongers, and imagining them to be the broken children of God that they are. I hear God singing to them, soothing their fears, salve-ing the wounds that had broken them so. I found that I could pray FOR them, no longer singing “Kunin mo, O Diyos” but praying for their healing, their being made whole again. Every time they do something to plunge me back into darkness, I make myself imagine God singing…
Thank you Lord for all your love and sacrifices made to make me a better person who realize how to love and serve you most and my brothers and sisters in Christ and learn forgiveness and sharing love. For, we are gift to give. For the greater glory of God!
I am baffled and confused that the person whom I’ve known for almost more than half my lifetime becomes a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I resented the attitude, the violent reactions, the temper flareups, that were never there before. It’s stressful to me and to my family, it’s put a strain on the relationship, and it’s ugly. And there were always periods of silence and no communication just to keep the peace. But still the wounds have been inflicted and what hurts is there are no sincere apologies, no remorse, and the pride swelling. That I resent.
I will try again Fr. J to change myself to help change the person. I will try to see again the sheep beneath the wolves’ clothing. The pained sheep, the criticized sheep, the embarrased and humiliated sheep.
And resolve to love that sheep in more concrete ways. Hopefully love will always triumph. 💕
It is not that easy to find the sheep in wolf’s clothing…esp if the wolf’s clothing has many layers…it will ask a lot of discernment whether to stay or not… for my own physical and mental health, I tend to opt to not staying… then recognizing the sheep beneath might be easier from afar, when I am out of reach of the sheep with the wolf’s clothing… May God bless us all…
What made me calm down dealing with the sheep disguised in wolves clothing/ enemies and persecutors? Seeing them as children of God. Sad to say, they are not mindful what the Lord desires from them. They inflict so much pain and wounds to anybody. They are not aware of their hurting actions. but yesterday, Holy Thursday, we were together at 4 pm Mass, I saw her kneeling, praying, receiving communion… . I cried, because even if she was in wolves clothing, she is still a sheep who need God’s mercy and love. She is loved by God just like me. its just that she might not be aware how she caused pain and hurts toward others especially the vulnerable and weak ones ( the sheep who depends the shepherd). Lord Grant me the grace to love the sheep in wolves clothing. Amen
If I detect a wolf in sheep’s clothing, I immediately head for the hills and keep my distance. However for those who have rejected or betrayed me , I pray a lot for the grace to forgive. I also try to see if I did anything to bring it unto myself and take some accountability. Then I try to take the lessons from the experience. I don’t want to hold on to anger. I know it will destroy me , while the other person may just be enjoying his or her life, without remorse or not even aware of the pain he/ she inflicted.
I can only say forgiveness is not possible thru ones will alone but will only be possible thru Gods grace.
Maybe unconditional love can turn these wolves into sheeps. But again only thru divine intervention will I be able to get to that level .
Thank you for today’s inputs.. it made me realize anew the frequent image that enters my mind since i was a kid… A black giant running after me… i ran as fast until my energy was gone.. and down I fell… To my fear of fears, this giant picks me up and says, I continue to run after you because I want to help you, you are troubled and I love you so dearly… . Yes to whatever my perception was then, i misjudged the sheep as a wolf… Growing up, I go back to this image to remind me of my Giant and ask for help and comfort. Today, my Giant’s image is very vivid and virtually and spiritually I embrace my Giant. You are mine, my Giant says. You can cry out your heart, clear the negative spirits off your mind and heart, forget what you unconsciously the curtain is torn and you are one with me.
I believe we come into the world seeing the good in every person. Just as how Jesus teaches us to be child like in a way. But the world teaches us a very different story that we cannot be gullible and have to watch out for own backs. As we grow older I think this is where there is a divergence of beliefs and to survive in this cruel world we always had to think of the worst in people.
Truly a difficult thing to juggle with here.
The challenge to find the sheep under the wolves speaks to me. I have nurtured anger at being unjustly accused by relatives of my husband. I used to be able to patiently take on the burden, but one big quarrel quashed my patience completely. I told myself that that was it, I have had enough.
I now hear the call to stretch my patience and be the voice of peace in their family. It will be tough, but by God’s grace, I know I will endure. Who He calls, He equips. May He give me the words and the wisdom to broker peace in their family.
I think some of the keys to attempting to love like how the Lord did (or how to see sheep in wolves) include trying to understand the context from where are people are coming from (especially in cases of disagreements) and accepting that things are not always in our control. Not always easy, of course, but from there, we can ask God’s grace to help us proceed with the best course of action based on these.
Amen. That is my prayer – for God’s grace to teach me to love like Jesus did.
It is very difficult to truly justify actions that hurt and pain us. We may temporarily humor ourselves to lighten the pain but to tell the person who hurts you, I understand and I forgive you even if you don’t ask for it, speaks of actions that Christ can only do… and this is the reason that everyday I beg for the grace to transform myself spiritually and “Chrisify”… it is not easy and truly until now I continue to work for this…May the Lord grant me this grace …
The call to love as Jesus loved- I prayed for those people who think differently from me…
what made him “Jesus” stay? “LOVE, love without condition.” Loving God, help me to be mindful to LOVE always without condition. Amen.
“Love and recognize the sheep in wolves’ clothing” — I truly find this beautiful, yet at the same time, daunting. There is always that urge to protect ourselves and steer clear of people who can hurt us or do us harm. I am also the type who avoids arguments as much as I can, for the sake of keeping the peace. But this message of today’s retreat challenges me to face these “difficult” people and search for the sheep in them. I need more time to reflect and to pray on this.
Your response resonates in my heart. I too continue to pray for grace to harbor peace with difficult people.
IA thought that always leads me to face difficult people that crosses my path in life is … saying to myself that they too are loved by God exactly as how much I am loved by the Lord. So with that thought its easier for me to accept and relate to them despite the difficulty!
Yes it has helped me. Understanding the context in those wicked enough to hurt me not only made me understand where they were coming from but also allowed me to understand how to best engage with them so as to heal that relationship.
Reminds me of Anne Frank, a persecuted Jewish girl who in the end died in a concentration camp, who wrote in her diary, “In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.”
I am invited to tear my own veil in my heart and let God into my depths, so perhaps I could see with his eyes the sheep dressed as wolves, and the goodness He has built into them. Maybe I could be more compassionate then, less judgmental, and more loving.
Thank you for sharing that idea of seeing others as a sheep in wolves clothing and correlating it with how Jesus saw those who mocked Him. Because of this, I know have a more open perspective to see those who have hurt me as one who has hurt themselves and in need of interior healing. Lord, by Your grace, my I be able to see those who hurt me as You did. Hard as it may be, may your love, by my strength. Amen.
The invitation to love the sheep in wolves’ clothing is a sobering thought that reminds me of the many times I have been that wolf-clothed sheep too. That I want to be forgiven by those I’ve hurt helps me to forgive and understand others who have hurt me.
God’s grace has allowed me to forgive those who have wronged me, and I have experienced how liberating it is to forgive. I struggle with loving the sheep in wolves’ clothing for those who are sowing fake news and social injustice.
At times I thought ignoring is the same as forgiving and loving. But in reality, it simply means taking things for granted. Definitely not loving.
“to look beneath the wolves in others and to recognize–and love–the sheep hiding in wolves’ clothing.” Requires a lot of Humility. Pray genuinely that I may see through the sheep hiding in wolves clothing.
How does one deal with someone who has hurt him? By standing up for what is right or by allowing him to crucify him? I have thought about this so many times. The only way I can reconcile what Jesus chose to do is by understanding that sometimes, no matter how you have spoken your mind and stood up for what you believe is right and true, the hurtful person cannot or just refuses to grasp things as his mind is closed or his heart has been hardened or he has been too much into himself that he cannot relate or that he just wants to be the one to win or may other things. The process takes so much time and sometimes requires other ways. I think that what Jesus chose to do tells us that it is only through some radical act that hearts and minds can be opened. and oftentimes, one has to get badly hurt in the process too, i.e., if one cares that much for the other person. This is still a big question i my mind. How much do you need to give to be able to open or free a heart or mind? Or sometimes, is the ultimate sacrifice to abandon someone you love so very much -even if this act will devastate you inside?
Maraming salamat for sharing your reflections. Helped me a great deal in further understanding the Passion of Christ.
I like staying away from people I don’t like. I hate it when I feel someone has hurt me. It’s hard to forgive, forget, or even be compassionate. I have been trying to be more forgiving and compassionate. Sometimes it works, other times (most of the time), no. What helps me is looking for similarities. It’s wonderful that we enjoy diversity and difference but a lot of the time, I feel like we should look for similarities as well. It’s hard to find common ground, especially when I’m feeling hurt. So I just keep trying.
I always wonder why Jesus had to go through so much and I still haven’t got an answer. But after this reflection, I think one possible reason is he stayed to remind us to pay attention to what was happening to him, that the possibility of finding that spark of common ground is there, even at the worst of pain. He reminds us to step away from our own hurts, no matter how bad, to pay attention to the big picture, that we are both wolf and sheep, equally loved. This is not to say that we shouldn’t face consequences when we do wolfish things. But I think it’s important to remember where in the wolf the sheep can shine through and from that point, work on forgiveness.
To go back to the previous question, I think the cry of Jesus reminds me to pay attention, not be swayed by strong feelings or the anger of crowd, but to pay attention, to reflect, to forgive. When I feel bad or angry or hurt, I lash out and don’t pay attention to others and I believe I am justified in my feelings. In that sense, I’m part of the people who don’t know what they are doing. Thinking of Jesus on the cross reminds me to be humble and wait… the ninth hour will come but after that, the miracle happen.
The wolves who attacked me with a reputation-smearing-and-hatred campaign did so because they thought they were doing good. Some were good people who thought they were doing good. But they judged wrongly and were inflicting harm and pain. Jesus’ example helped me to try to forgive and unite myself to his pain.
To love the sheep in wolves’ clothing means to see Jesus in everyone, most especially our enemies. Sometimes we only look at ourselves and only focus on the hurt and pain that others have caused us. But to Christify our lives means others should see Jesus in us as well.
We know too well that is easier said than done. That’s why we are all work-in-progress. One thing that helped me was to grow in His Word, by attending bible study lessons. This became an eye-opener for me to be more mindful of others. What Paul said in one of his epistles — “more of Him and less of me”, makes everyday a humbling yet rewarding experience.
FAITH in the (innate) goodness of man.
I have a relative who is very antagonistic to members of our family clan & has caused a division in our clan. The pandemic made me question if it was worth the separation given that friends & relatives were in danger of losing their lives due to the virus. This Christmas, God must have blessed me to invite that relative to our Christmas lunch. To try to bring him into the family, to make him feel loved & welcomed.
There are persons who do not welcome our love & even reject it. Then, we can first pray for them. That God will soften their hearts & change their actions.
Wow – Finding the sheep in wolves clothing- is such a radical thing for me! After all the hurt, pain and frustrations inflicted on me by people I don’t think I can forgive and moreso love them. But looking a Jesus I know it is possible. So at the foot of his cross I beg the Lord to give me the grace to see as he sees the sheep in wolves’ clothing , to forgive and love those who hurt me. Truly to err is human and to forgive divine. I surrender all to the Lord as I cry, “Lord help me! Lord have mercy on me! “
I used to live in a marriage with an abusive husband for 25 years. What helped me stay was my belief that man is basically good.
When my husband would be unkind, I saw him as a tiger with a thorn caught in his paw. He was just flailing his legs in pain. Because i was near him, i got hurt. He wasn’t purposely hurting me.
I too have been a wolf before. I have been proud and demeaning to others. I have lashed my anger at others. I have made fun of other people in the guise of humor. I did all these because I didn’t know any better.
But encountering Christ and His love lead me to love others now as He loves me.
Your response made me face the truth : that while I try to find sheep in wolves around me, I realize that I too am a wolf ! Only by God’s grace can I move on to be a better person. I will pray for all those who, like me, are wolves dressed as sheep.
“Love the sheep in wolves clothing”. I keep thinking about this & i cant help but think about how certain politicians & their supporters have continued to act in terrible ways despite the “radical love” that a certain politician & her supporters try to practice. So i cant help but wonder, what if the “sheep in wolves clothing” who you are trying to love, are really “wolves” inside & out, & are really not sheep at all? What do we do then? Is there a way to love “wolves”?
Only deep LOVE makes one stay in painful situations. Only this LOVE carries one above them and to forgiveness. It may be the most difficult thing to do. To love those who hurt us and make sacrifices for them. But it is also love that opens the way to understanding, compassion, generosity and ultimately joy.
I made peace with my enemies. HOW?
1. Although I did not understand why I was being attacked, I stood my ground. In my heart & mind, I knew I did them no wrong. It pained me but in the end I was delivered and they were put to shame. Someone apologized, someone did a good turn, some held on to their pride but years later confessed of their wrongdoing or being reprimanded by higher ups back then.
2. Their false accusations made me very angry. A friend suggested I pray for them. Naturally my reaction then was what for? The prayers may or may not have changed them but it brought me peace. I was also able to see that these people had childhood traumas- problems brought about by family or school. They had been hurt and are still carrying the hurt and for some reason they want to inflict that hurt on others.
3. I was able to keep calm and sensible because I had the love and support of my family and friends. I thank God for that. Sabi nga, ang dami kong kakampi.
4. I was loved & accepted. I had a strong sense of belongingness. My enemies did not have that. And so even if we disagreed, I showed them respect. That melted them away.
5. This experience made me sensitive to people’s needs. Whether family, friends or students I understand now that everyone needs to be loved, accepted, to belong, to be understood and respected even if they are not exactly lovable at the moment.
It is very hard for me to see the good in bad people – to see the sheep in wolves’ clothing. As a human being, it does not make much sense to love your enemy or to try to look for good in bad people. We truly need God’s enlightenment for us to have that paradigm shift to be able to seek the sheep in wolves’ clothing. I find that prayer has been a very effective way to be enlightened, to be able to discern and find the good in bad people. Never stop praying. God answers all prayers, although not always the answers that we expect. God knows what is best for us so let us learn to discern what God’s answers are to our prayers. Allow God to work in our lives and it will allow us to see good in others.
I take a distance and look at the person’s environment. What s/he has been through. I ask why a thousand times. Then when I have found some answers to these, I attempt to come close again. I try to find connections. No matter how hard it is. At the end it is only love, the one Jesus on the cross has shown us, that makes one do this on and on and on….
I take a distance and look at the person’s environment. What s/he has been through. I ask why a thousand times. Then when I have found some answers to these, I attempt to come close again. I try to find connections. No matter how hard it is. At the end it is only love, the one Jesus on the cross has shown us, that makes one do this on and on and on….
We tend to focus and be reminded of the things that were said and done to us that caused us hurt and pain. But I also find myself trying to understand them and praying for them. So I think that’s my way of finding the sheep in their wolves’ clothing.
“There is a seed of goodness in each person.” I remind myself of this quote from Don Bosco. It’s tiring to recycle old hurts. We are all sinned against and we hurt others too. Whenever I am reminded of my “enemy,” I pray for that person and I also pray for myself. “Lord, change me.”
I also remember a friend who was led on by a guy, who made her fall in love with him and then he ghosted her.
The next time she was dating someone, she said, “Ipapa-fall ko itong lalaking ito sakin tapos pag in-love na siya, saka ko iiwan.”
Hurt people hurt people. We tend to want to pass on the hurt we received from others, to others. Our pain demands to be felt.
But that’s not the Christian way.
Others may hurt us but we give the hurt to God. He can take it and transform it. It’s a long process of healing. And while we heal, my prayer has been for the Lord to not let us be hard-hearted and bitter…
I find it difficult to hate when I remember they’re children of God, too, and whatever hurt they’ve inflicted is a result of their own hurt. Hurt people hurt people.
Kaya malambot puso ko towards those who are antagonistic and difficult. I feel empathy for them. Perhaps they don’t mean to be that way. Nobody wants to be a bad person, right? Yun lang, they ARE antagonistic and difficult and hard to deal with, and you’re usually working with layers and years of hurt and trauma beneath their rough edges. So paano? I don’t know…
Each time I tend to hurt back people who cause me pain, I step back and ask myself how much good and relief it will do me? Will l I then get a good night’s sleep knowing I had inflicted similar or even worse pain on them?I always end up with the same answer:it’s not even worth your time.You go sleepless planning,while your “enemy” sleeps soundly .
There’s always a good feeling I get if I just leave it at that.The struggle to get past the hurt may be difficult but in the end, the relief at not getting even outweighs the “victory” of hurting back.
Prayers ,more prayers remove the pain in time.
“Love the sheep in wolves’ clothing”, this is easier said than done. What perhaps help me in the past is acknowledging that I also wear this wolves’ clothing (knowingly or unknowingly) to protect myself from pain, rejection, and all other negativities. The wolves’ clothing can be likened to the cover of a book, there is more inside if we suspend our judgment.
Thank you for this.
Yes, in my prayer, I have experienced how the grace of God’s love prevailed over a hurt that was not directly hurled against me but against a lowly individual who was not able to defend himself. But during this Lenten walk, I chose not to allow the evil to gain the upper hand. I knew that the love which I have continually asked forth from the Spirit has been granted. Gradually, I understood that God’s hand was leading me to reach out and to go beyond the wolf, and see the sheep struggling to grow within. I’m deeply grateful for the priceless grace of this Lenten season.
Sometimes I can understand and am generous to wolve’s in sheep’s clothing. What I am fearful about is when I make a mistake in judging a sheep in wolve’s clothing because I am afraid that generosity can be abused.
Is it true that when we make a decision to help, we should be ready to be abused?
Nakakatulong na kaibigan mo ang nananakit sa iyo. Naiintindihan mo ang pinanggagalingan nila kahit papaano. Pero mahirap pa rin. Grasya na lang talaga ang pagtitimpi at minsan pati ang biglaang pagbabati.
We can forgive, as we ask for forgiveness.
But, we don’t have to forget, right?
Yes, Pope Francis says so. I reflected on his words in Fratelli Tutti and I was surprised myself about forgiving and not forgetting. Not to forget the harm done in order not to repeat it and not to fall on it again.
Yes. We may not forget but the act of forgiving is a peaceful feeling.
There is wisdom in loving one’s enemies. In the movie, “The Godfather”–“keep your friends close, but your enemies closer”. While this is a secular view, this mindset can be used to fight disinformation in social media–in today’s nearing Philippine election and in the Russian-Ukraine war. As Sun Tzu would say — “The essence of war is deception”. And this holds true in the secular realm and in the spiritual realm where the devil often disguises himself in sheep’s clothing. How to combat this? Use prayer and discernment. Everyday, I would practice the Ignatian principle of discernment–to review my day in light of the questions–What were the good things I experienced today and what were the bad things I experienced today. Are these things or thoughts from God or from the evil spirit? Reflecting on a gospel passage or using my imagination to enter into a gospel scene or reflecting on a painting can stimulate discernment. Maybe reflecting on John Lennon’s song “Imagine” which breaks the “curtain” or boundaries in mindsets that turns people into worlves would also help.
Thanks. Your reflection adds more light to my thoughts this morning.
A recent incident with my husband left me pained and disappointed. Every night as the family said our evening prayers, one line stood out and seemed to refer to me ” Give me the grace to forgive, Lord.” Asking the Lord for the courage to forgive and praying this every night, helped me. The Lord stayed on the cross until the end to help me.
“Hit the sin not the sinner.” For even the most hardened sinner is a child of God. Look at ourselves in the mirror, we are all sinners. So let us all pray for each other… 💖
Because of our human condition, all of us at some point in our lives can be sheep and/or wolves. The tearing down of the curtain in the temple shows the mindsets of our human condition that prevent us from getting closer to God. Perhaps reflecting on John Lennon’s song “Imagine” which discards these “curtains” would put us in the right perspective. https://youtu.be/bNnFFKv_NyI
I had my fair share of friends who betrayed me and it is difficult to love a sheep disguised in wolve’s clothing. My heartbreak from finding out about my husband having a relationship with another woman still pierces my heart to this very day. Although I was able to forgive my husband and decided to stay with him, my hatred for the woman who caused the pain remain. It is very hard to forgive someone who has not asked for forgiveness.
Seeing how she was able to get away with her evil ways make me sometimes think why she is continued to be blessed despite her wrongdoings. I do not wish for her to be punished but I see no remorse from her end. Although sometimes I remind myself that it will be wrong to judge the woman for what she has done and I know my husband is to blame as well. But still, I cannot understand how a woman knowing that the man is married and has children continue to have an affair with the man. How can someone want to break a family? The other woman knows that my husband and I are still living together. I told her that too and marriages are not perfect but if there are women like her who would continue to tempt men, more marriages will not survive.
I pray for my enemies and in all the Sunday masses that I attend, I continue to pray that she finds her own man and find the happiness of having her own family because I think that maybe only by then would she realize the value of marriage and keeping a family.
I restrain myself, keep quiet when angry. It will last for minutes. To let go of my anger, I asked Jesus mercy to help me avoid sin because of my anger. I cried when angry, cried out in silence. This pandemic reinforced my faith when I was alone due to covid, Lent is more meaningful now. I lost friends including our priest/ spiritual guide. This is my nourishment. I need to immerse myself in prayer/meditation again.
Your sharing has been very touching. I pray that God be with you and grant you His peace 🙏
I hope it is okay for me to share how these passages of the Gospel have been tied with the experience of deep and profound grief after my Father’s passing.
I consider myself blessed because just when I thought God had abandoned me, the day before my Father’s necrological service I was able to speak with two Jesuits (one of them my Father’s friend and the one who baptized me) and also chat with another Jesuit who gave comforting words at a time my grief was really heavy. It is true despite my grief I still believe in God’s grace carrying me through every moment in my life. It is only by His Grace that I am able to see the good things that life still has to offer despite the pain of grief. I thank Jesus for sending the three Jesuits who helped me that time I guess I was facing my own crucifixion.
Let us look for the grain in goodness in us first then we will see the grain in goodness in others. We cannot see in others what we missed seeing in ourselves. Look inside out
I see the sheep in wolves’ clothing. I forgive them because I know their actions are coming from hurtful experiences. I can tell they sense my sympathy so they attack again and I do not know what to do about it.
This is a strange place for my reflections to go, but I suppose it is the truth that I have not confronted or realized: The enemy is me.
I wish to figure out what this means in relation to yesterday’s “last meal” scenario. How am I not inviting myself to my own table? Am I not loving myself? Am I doing something wrong?
My son thinks he is terrible person. I told him, ask God’s forgiveness and He will forgive you. But most of all learn to forgive yourself, for God has already forgiven us thru His son Jesus… 😊
Sometimes God uses us to show a person he is forgiven. We become vessels of that grace of God’s Divine Mercy. When we love the person unconditionally , we witnessing God’s love and mercy. We may become the face of God’s mercy , then he will learn to forgive himself.
This is indeed the greates love of all. May God grant me the grace to be that love that never judge that love that embraces everyone
I could not help but think of Putin who is now wreaking untold destruction and suffering in Ukraine. It is said that hurt people hurt people and I could just imagine how hurt he must have been in the past for him to foment so much evil now. It is quite a stretch for me to find forgiveness for him in my heart but then I remember that there go I except for God’s grace. So, I must pray for him also as I pray for the Ukrainians.
Throughout this pandemic and continuing still, I have unfriended many people in my life for checking up on me. I guess I have become so self-centered that I failed to see that they too have been struggling and I also failed to reach out to them during their hardest moments. We are all sheep hiding in wolves’ clothing.
Honestly, it is not easy for me to see the good things in my enemies, especially for the people who hurt me the most. However, I can see the good qualities between my closest friends and my mother whenever we have an argument. From this, I can easily forgive them and live peacefully with them. I pray that I will be like Jesus who sees the good thing in every people.
As I experienced health challenges AND the mercies of God while going through that, my heart mellowed and my perspective expanded to include considering the pains and agonies of those I do not like and those who do not like me. Im just so happy to be healed that moves me to also forgive…extravagantly.
I see their hurt but it still does not justify their actions, it merely explains it. I know they could respond better and it saddens and frustrates me that they still do not. It’s a reminder to keep praying for their healing, because at some point, I stopped praying for them.
I hurt less now and have become less judgmental when I encounter sheep in wolve’s clothing. I try my best to understand what motivates them to hurt others. I know may pinang-gagalingan.
When you look at your enemies and persecutors, would it be easy–or even possible–for you to recognize the sheep disguised in wolves’ clothing? If you’ve been able to do that before, what has helped you do that? Acknowledge the feelings of pain and hurt; bring these feelings to prayer and in His time, decide to let go.
Hurt people hurt people. It’s very hard to do but if we think about that and think what could’ve the aggressor gone through to inflict pain to others – it humanizes them. I get to separate the bad action from the doer.
I reflect on: ” Beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing”
From a very young age and continuing for many years into adulthood, an older sibling, treated me as a younger sister who had to be protected,to be taught in the lessons of life. It was a one way relationship as that sibling, without my knowing it, made important decisions for me,without my consent.I would find out later on these actions. I was angry and ready to gang up on that sibling. I thought , paused and realized that it was more important to have an honest communication with that sibling. While no apologies came, I chose to forgive. Forgive myself to be free from the anger and offer prayers to that family member ” Love the sheep in wolves’ clothing.
There have been similar situations experienced in the past and I am sure in the future. I will always ask the grace of God to follow His formula
1. Be honest with oneself and others
2. Love them and learn to forgive
* this sharing was so difficult ”
Thank you Fr Johnny for creating this space that allowed this
Question: if we are to look for the sheep in wolves clothing why has the church stoned and condemned certain candidates. Could it be possible that they have made amends directly to God? And what about the sheep who may have successfully hidden their sins? Why have the priests become SO judgmental?
Your questions are valid. We are all hurt and sometimes we don’t know how to cry it out loud. Keep asking but don’t stay on asking but go and find the answer..
Letting go and forgiving is difficult. Deep understanding of the death & resurrection helped, the experience invites gratitude to the life God gives, no matter the circumstances.
I have seen and experienced a lot of sheep in wolve’s clothing.. and still bearing with them.
I pray and continously pray for them.
Until i could no longer remember the pain they have caused.
Please erase my name
I recognize the sheep in my life’s wolves because i grew up with them. Favoritism in families is really anathema. Though I appreciate all the abounding love my parents and 2 eldest siblings gave me , I realize how much it has hurt some of my sisters and it has made me more patient and forgiving. Thank You Lord.
Pleaes erase my name