The story of Little Red Riding Hood is a tragic tale. We can forgive Little Red for mistaking the wolf for her grandmother because the wolf was disguised to look like granny. The disguise was weak at best, and it seemed Little Red was just about to see through the ruse, but unfortunately she was too late.
This tale of deceit and treachery is at times played out in real life with wolfish individuals who dress in the garbs of religious leaders to deceive unsuspecting and trusting men and women. How do we recognize these deceitful individuals? It isn’t always easy. The wolf’s disguise was a last-minute makeshift costume, but religious leaders have had time to prepare their disguise and train their voice. They look like, sound like, and even act like the genuine thing. So, how do we know?
We take our cues from Little Red who discerned by noticing the little details. The voice was off and the physical appearance was off, but before she could explore deeper, her fate was sealed. Going beyond the physical aspects, we notice other details. How do they treat their employees? How do they react under pressure? Do their egos rule their actions? Are they full of pride?
Checking for the positive signs is just as important as checking for the negative signs. Are they kind, gracious, giving, and loving? Do they take time to listen — really listen — or are they too busy with their own agenda? The warning signs are there, if we will take time to question and look for them.
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