There is a Native American folktale about a young man confiding in his Grandfather that he sometimes treats his friends harshly and sometimes kindly. He did not understand why.
His Grandfather said, “When I was your age…I felt like there were two Wolves fighting inside of me…one was mean and ornery, rebellious and committed to all things negative. The other was kind and gentle, respected nature and all living things, and always did what was best.” The grandfather continued, “These Wolves are still with me now; in fact, they live in each one of us.”
The young man asked, “How do you get them to stop fighting?”
“Oh, the fight is always there” the Grandfather said, “But the Wolf that I choose to feed and give more attention to is the one that is always most visible”.
Each one of us, I am sure, has had similar experiences in our own lives with an inner struggle that we cannot completely control nor understand. Paul describes his own experience in Romans chapter 7, verse 15 when he said,
“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” He continues in verses 21-23, “So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is present with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.”
Just as Paul must have found a way to feed and nourish the right Wolf in his life, so must we all struggle to allow the good, kind, generous, patient, and forgiving Wolf in us to be fed, nurtured and encouraged. As a result the right Wolf will be present when dealing with others. We have all seen people who have fed and nourished the wrong Wolf and thus are not very fun to be around.
We will always have a dual nature, an inner war, or two Wolves living in us. We shall never be without this struggle in our lives, or completely in control of our dual nature. Still we can choose, like the Grandfather in our story, to feed and nourish the Wolf that we want to be most visible.
Just something to think about!
Harvey Schultz (firstname.lastname@example.org)