'Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. '
This occurs after Jesus has asked people to pray for more workers. As I’ve read it and processed it, I have the impression that if we are truly going to do what Jesus says we are to do, we have to invest in some wisdom and gentleness.
How can you claim to be like a serpent as well as a dove? They are both so different in their approaches to the world.
I'd like to submit that when we say we are wise as serpents, that means that we just employ good boundaries--- common sense understanding that some people are not always out for your best interest.
Understanding that if we truly are going to take the commission seriously that we will come across people who want to attack us, maybe not physically, but definitely attack us spiritually. Being prepared for this and being expectant of this is important.
The second part of that verse speaks about how we are to be gentle as doves. My interpretation of this is Jesus is preparing us for such a time as this. What discernment it takes in this day and age! How do you speak truth in love? Wisdom and gentleness can go very far in our interactions and make it so that others can see the difference that God has made in our lives and they may then want that for themselves.