I burned my hand yesterday. I was cooking some chicken, and, in a moment of distraction, started to grab the iron frying pan’s hot handle. Ouch! I’ve got a red welt to remind me to look and think before I reach. Hopefully, it won't turn into an ugly wound.

In today’s verse, Peter warns Christ’s followers to also look and think before reaching for the ideas of false prophets. Some teachers are always promoting a new idea that is different, a bit off, but appealingly said. Even very bright and well-educated people have been fooled. Beware!

Others constantly appeal for money. They generate large followings and make frequent, passionate appeals for funds. Be careful! You may get burned.

Abusers demand loyalty and obedience as a cloak for taking advantage of the young, defenseless, or easily impressionable. It’s a crisis today. Be watchful!

“Well, I don’t have to worry about any of that,” you say. “I won’t be fooled by these guys.” Don’t be too sure. False prophets come in many forms, and they are very clever. They can wound you if you are not careful.

Jesus tells us how to recognize them. “‘They will come to you in sheep’s clothing,’ he cautions, ‘but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits’” (Matthew 7:15-16).

Their fruits? They leave behind a trail of controversy, divided churches, financial scandals, and damaged lives. Ugly wounds that really hurt. It pays to listen to the Bible’s warnings and not become distracted.

Keep me in the center of your truth, Lord, and help me to guard and protect what is right and good for others and for your Church. Guide me with wisdom before I reach out to what seems tantalizing. Amen.

Go Deeper — Do you have a potholder or oven mitt? Hold it in your hand and reflect on how God’s Word protects us from danger. May it remind you to think before you reach for a new idea.

Tags: The Letters of Peter 2 Peter 2
Photo Credit: Luz Mendoza