There he stood on hind legs, as brazen as though he were paying the mortgage and completely unperturbed by the fact that quite an audience had gathered curiously by the door to watch him explore our back porch.

His fluffy brown fur was reminiscent of the gazillions of stuffed animals residing in my children’s bedrooms. His quick twitching nose made him appear to be a miniature man on a mission, too busy to stop and chat and too hurried to care.

He was really, really cute.

Squeals from the girls about wanting to make him our pet (!) abounded and the boys watched in awe as he walked right up to the glass door where we were huddled: one adult, four children, an 85 pound Labrador, and a cat who’s certain he’s a tiger from the savannahs of Africa.

He didn’t even twitch when he heard us, so confident he was of his safety. “You wouldn’t dare,” he would say if he could speak because he’s right. I wouldn’t do anything to this adorable little creature.

We watched a while longer and our friend remained unimpressed. It wasn’t until someone (certainly one of the boys) opened the door a crack that he scurried back to his lair – which happens to be under my husband’s detached home office.

Luckily, I had videotaped his excursion and sent it to Jason via Facebook because it was too long to text.

The comments began to pour-in. Colleen said, “You could have the up and coming mammal celeb in your own backyard. Careful, though. They aren’t known for being cuddly.

Followed by my Aunt Julie’s wisdom of, “OK, listen up. They are nearly impossible to trap. Personal experience. They burrow and ruin foundations and will tunnel to make a home for raccoons, etc. They also smell. Ask us sometime about our lovely experience with Mr. Chuck Wood, Groundhog or whatever you choose to call him. Personal experience. Surprised to see this guy so close to the window. He is fun to watch but you don’t want him to take up residence. Trust me on this!

As I read more comments of the like, I realized this little critter was so not who I thought he was on the outside. Cute, cuddly and a possible pet (!) he is not. In fact, groundhogs are known to be mean. Vicious. Territorial.

In other words, he’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. – Matthew 7:15

And this wolf in sheep’s clothing . . . he’ll destroy your foundation and build rooms for his less-than-desirable friends to join in the fun.

Unfortunately, I’ve learned this lesson the hard way over the past few months. Taken for a decent amount of money by a wolf in sheep’s clothing, I lamented and wondered how I could have been so blind.  I didn’t see it coming because this person is a Christian after all and those who call themselves Christians will always do the right thing, right?

But no. Matthew tells us to watch out for those imposters, those who profess faith with their lips but have hearts far from the Lord (Matthew 15:8). Unfortunately, they’re out there and they certainly do have the capability to rock foundations through deception.

Yet it also doesn’t give us a free pass to become bitter and distrustful. It doesn’t mean that we’re allowed to label all Christians by the actions of a few – or any group for that matter.

When we inevitably meet those wolves in sheep’s clothing, it’s through the wounds from their piercing bites that shape the firm foundation of wisdom. They may bite us, or threaten to rock what we stand upon or invite their friends to join in the terror, but when we have wisdom attained from trial by fire, we will not be shaken.

Lesson learned – and still learning.

Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
    for my hope is in him.
  He alone is my rock and my salvation,
    my fortress where I will not be shaken.

– Psalm 62: 5-6




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