“What we do to each other, we do to ourselves.” – Paula A. Franzese

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“Above all else, guard your heart,  for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)

What enters the heart will run and rule your life. What emerges from it will affect the lives of others. Choose those you let into your heart wisely. Give love from it freely and without restraint.

In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.

–  Thomas Jefferson

School is boring, so to spice things up every once in a while I walk up and down the ramps in the building instead of taking the elevator. If you’re wondering what on earth I’m talking about, let me explain. The brilliant architect who designed my law school decided it would be a good idea to construct the levels of the building around these winding ramps. Needless to say, by the time you’ve made your way from the top floor to the ground floor, you’ve probably walked a mile. The only people who ever use the ramps are the first years. Second and third years are too lazy to walk so they opt for the elevator and the active ones use the hidden staircases (I only found out they existed at the very end of my first semester here.)

On my way down the ramps today, one of the students in front of me was telling his friends about his broken television. As it turns out, when he moved into the area for school he also purchased a new television that broke down. So, he called the store and asked for them to come repair it. After playing phone tag with customer service for a while he was finally able to get repairmen to come. They arrived at his house one day, assessed the television, and told him it had to be taken in for repairs. Four months later, and he still has no TV. The repairmen were actually not repairmen at all, but very crafty conmen. When he called the store to inquire about his television, customer service replied with “Um, sir… we don’t subcontract to a company by that name…” Basically, thieves walked into his home dressed as repairmen, took his television with his approval, and walked off never to be seen again.

(People also walk very slowly up and down the ramps so you end up learning strangers’ life stories if you’re walking behind them.)

His run-in with fake repairmen quickly brought these verses to mind: Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits…” (Matthew 7:15-16). The repairmen came in sheep’s clothing. Who doesn’t trust a repairman? Something broke and you called him to fix it, of course you’ll trust him. But when the thief puts on the repairman’s clothing, how can you tell the difference? Only with extreme caution, a discerning eye, and a mind filled with knowledge and wisdom can we pierce through the veil to the truth.

And so it is the case with everyone we meet. There are those who seem to bring goodness and edification when they are truly tearing us down from the inside outward. Today’s false prophets come in glamorized exteriors–the job with the salary that breeds greed, the wonderful education that instills doubts of faith, the good friend who encourages defiance of what is right and good.

We must be ever watchful, or else our souls will also be stolen from right under our noses.