The Bible warns us in Matthew 7:15 of “wolves in sheep’s clothing”. What is a wolf in sheep’s clothing exactly? Do they still exist in our modern society?
What is a “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing”?
The Bible contains many verses warning God’s people of metaphoric wolves within their society. This Biblical wolf archetype is often accompanied by adjectives like “fierce”, “ravenous” and “ferocious”. The Bible cautions us to beware of these predatory, wolf-like figures prowling our world.
Additionally, another recurring Biblical archetype is sheep. On the contrary, sheep are not predatory animals. They are calm, passive and docile creatures, not hunters. Being herbivores, they do not prey on other animals. And in the predator-prey dynamic, they are always on the losing end.
However the Bible warns of a much more ominous threat (as if wolves weren’t enough to worry about). We are also to be on the lookout for “wolves in sheep’s clothing”, as we can read in the book of Matthew:
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
Not only do we have to be vigilant against wolves within our society, but cautious of one’s who pretend to be harmless sheep. They put on the facade of being gentle or even helpful, when they secretly have razor-sharp fangs beneath the wool.
This is a common manipulation tactic. People or entities with sinister ulterior motives will portray themselves as harmless and friendly. They will act as though their intentions are altruistic and benevolent. In turn, the other party proceeds to let their guard down and trust the insidious antagonist.
According to Psychology Today, manipulative people prey on other’s sensibilities and emotional sensitivity. One of the most common manipulation tactics that predators use is to appeal to people’s emotions and heart. When the individual’s emotions are evoked, their thinking and judgement become clouded. This creates a backdoor for the predator to enter in and achieve their intended scheme.
In essence, a wolf in sheep’s clothing is someone who professes to have another’s best interest at heart, when the opposite is the case. They are using this benign guise as a means to deceive the other party into lowering their guard, so they have a better opportunity of carrying out their actual malicious intent. Wearing the sheep’s wool, these wolves are considerably much more dangerous than before.
Contemporary Examples of Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing
The idea of wolves in sheep’s clothing is not an antiquated concept that is no longer relevant. It is an innate, reoccurring tendency embedded within human nature itself. This ploy continues to rear it’s ugly head even today.
But where can we observe wolves in sheep’s clothing in present-day? Of course this dynamic occurs everyday among individuals but what about on a more “meta” level? Can we discover this phenomenon on a larger scale?
We can identify many wolves in sheep’s clothing within our various establishments and institutions. By comparing their public image to their clandestine actions, we can evaluate their true intentions. We will find that these entities use the wolf in sheep’s clothing tactic constantly to achieve subterfuge.
Whether it be for better public relations, increased product sales, power grabs, etc., our institutions are portraying themselves as sheep to the public while acting as wolves behind the scenes.
We see many corporations today employ this deceptive strategy in their marketing campaigns. Many mega-corporations like Procter & Gamble, Nike and Apple will purport to care about social injustices facing the disenfranchised. Their advertisements will claim they are empathetic to the struggle of the common man. All the while, their products are produced in inhumane sweatshops in third-world countries.
These multinational corporations are ruthless and cutthroat wolves in the business world. They will do anything to increase profits to appease their shareholders. They will shave pennies off of production costs at the expense of their poverty stricken laborers.
Meanwhile their marketing campaigns portray them as “rooting for the little guy”. Professing to care about the plight of the proletariat, they grandstand as ethical, social justice freedom fighters. All so the duped commoner can scrape up enough cash to buy overpriced sneakers, partially rationalizing their unnecessary purchase based a virtuous marketing campaign. Unbeknownst to the consumer, the shoes they bought were produced by someone even less fortunate than themselves.
These wolf corporations continually feign as sheep in a desperate attempt to cover up their human rights violations and profiteering. Aiming to veil their vicious business tactics from the uninformed consumer.
2) Politicians & Government
Politicians are often times the worst offenders when it comes to the wolf in sheep’s clothing tactics. On the surface level, governments and politicians entire existence is to serve the commonwealth. As the saying goes, “government of the people, by the people, for the people“.
However this hardly ever ends up being the case. Politicians run for office with vapid platitudes like “Yes We Can” or “Make America Great Again“, rousing the masses and filling them with hope. What they neglect to mention is that their entire political campaign was funded by large lobbyists whose interests are always the polar opposite of the people’s. Having political leaders’ campaigns funded by monolithic enterprises is clearly a flagrant conflict of interest. But the voters are to assume nothing is out of the ordinary and they are still being represented fairly and impartially.
Additionally, politicians will never turn down a good public relations opportunity. They hold completely orchestrated and coordinated photo ops presented as an organic philanthropic initiative by the politician. All in the hopes of burying the last scandal in order to regain support of their constituents before the next election cycle.
These disingenuous politicians can hardly shroud their fangs beneath their sheep hide. They have promise-filled campaign rallies with the public during the day while holding closed door meetings with Goldman Sachs in the evening. While having their cake and eating it too, they gain public support while acquiring corporate mega-donors, despite the interests of both parties being diametrically opposed.
The media has tremendous power and influence in shaping public opinion and perception. And with such great power should come great responsibility. Similarly with the aforementioned purpose of government and politicians, the media is intended to serve the people:
The media reports the news, serves as an intermediary between the government and the people, helps determine which issues should be discussed, and keeps people actively involved in society and politics.
The purpose of the media is to shed light on injustice while nurturing and cultivating a healthy Overton window, which serves the public in a beneficial way. After all, this is the self-proclaimed function the current mainstream media serves.
In order to have a properly functioning media, one would assume it is made up of smaller, independent companies. While each company may have it’s own biases and inclinations, at least the sum total would provide a balanced pool of choices for the general population. This would also cultivate healthy competition, creating a regulatory checks and balances system among each other.
However upon a little investigation, it’s discovered that nearly all of the media is owned by six companies. These companies (listed largest to smallest) include:
- Comcast (total value: $148.2 billion)
- Disney (total value: $88.1 billion)
- TimeWarner (total value: $60.6 billion)
- News Corp (total value: $56 billion)
- National Amusements (total value: $43 billion)
- Sony (total value: $34.1 billion)
With such a monopolization of media forming, one can imagine the negative implications. When news outlets are owned and operated by mega-corporations, they become a mouthpiece for big business rather than serving the interests of civilians. They will tell a narrative which benefits the concerns of corporations, not the people.
The duplicitous mainstream media alleges to be a non-biased window into the happenings of society; an instrument to educate and inform the people. But the mainstream media today is a shell of what it once was. What was established as a mechanism to help the public become more informed and knowledgeable, is now a covert representative for Wall Street.
How Should Christians Prepare Against Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing?
Christianity truly sets itself apart among all other world religions. No other book more accurately outlines human fallibility than the Bible. So how should Christians prepare for these sly wolves masquerading as sheep? What does the Bible tell us to do?
Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.
As Christians, we are to be “wise as serpents and innocent as doves“. The Bible tells us to be harmless and gentle but also vigilant and observant. Because of the fallen nature of humanity, Christians should never let their guards down in this world.
So this poses the question, what other wolves are possibly lurking in the fringes of society? Maybe there are some even more shrewd and crafty than aforementioned. So wily they are nearly impossible to identify.
Perhaps we should practice healthy skepticism when other people, institutions, entities, etc., claim to have our best interests at heart. What if this is only the tip of the iceberg?