Painting Possums

Greg Gwin

Several years ago we knew a man with the unusual hobby of trapping possums. No, he didn’t eat them. He painted them! That’s right – he would catch these critters in a box trap, and then he painted them with fluorescent paint and released them. Sounds weird, doesn’t it? But this fella had a ball with his “off the wall” hobby. And imagine the folks in the small town where he lived! What would you think if you saw a bright orange possum rummaging through your garbage? And if you came in late one night, it probably would not be wise to tell your family that you saw a “hot pink” possum crossing the street – they’d have good cause to wonder about you! One thing about those possums though – there’s was no mistaking it when you saw one of them.

It would be nice if religious false teachers could be marked in a similar way. Wouldn’t it be something if everyone who taught a false doctrine or practiced religious error suddenly sprouted orange hair? It sure would look funny when some religious groups met together for worship. It would look something like a convention of “punk rockers”!  These days, almost everyone would be sporting some unnatural hair color.

It will never happen though. False teachers don’t stand out that plainly in a crowd. Paul warned of “deceitful workers disguising themselves as servants of righteousness” (2 Cor. 11:13-15). We must be on our guard: “Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 Jn. 4:1). We can see them clearly by comparing their teachings to the plain word of God.