Two Wolves

The Cherokee tell of a young boy who is brought before the council of elders for his aggressive behavior. One of the wisest of the elders takes the boy aside and shares with him this bit of wisdom:

“I am not surprised that you are so aggressive. You see, each of us has, in his own soul, two wolves. One of these wolves is good, the other evil. They are both of equal strength and are locked in a violent battle to the death!”

The young boy thinks about this for a second then asks, “If this is true, and both wolves are of equal strength, which one wins?”

The old man smiles, puts his arm around the boy, and tells him, “The wolf that wins is the wolf you feed!”

All of us face choices every day. This parable reminds us that the choices we make form the person we will become. As persons of faith, we are called to feed our best impulses and starve our worst. In the 7th chapter of Romans, Paul laments his own lack of self control: “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” Paul is acutely aware of his warring impulses but also teaches that through Christ we can be victorious over our sin natures. To choose the good over the bad takes tremendous discipline. Discipline, though, is at the heart of what it means to be a disciple.

Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear…

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