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Be as (Street)Wise as Serpents

Updated: Mar 15, 2023

Wisdom on why you need to be aware of yourself and who you surround yourself with in order to be authentic, with advice from the Bible, Jordan Peterson and Thomas Edison

Written by Vivienne Juan, Associate Elect

There is a scripture that was recently shared with me that encompasses exactly this — the combination of high-level awareness and self-awareness as key to living a truly authentic and meaningful life full of purpose. I feel it’s a really powerful one, and I would like to share it with you. It goes like this:

“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” ~ Matthew 10:16

While in the Bible context you’ve got Jesus Christ talking to his disciples, I feel these two lines are still so relevant today. We can all benefit by applying this wisdom in our everyday lives, and I’ve got a few really poignant YouTube Shorts videos to help me illustrate this.

First up, take a minute to check out what professor, clinical psychologist, and author, Dr Jordan Peterson has to say here in this video:



Here, Dr Peterson is basically saying, in the context of our Matthew 10:16 verse, figure out who are the ‘sheep’ and who are the ‘wolves’ in your life. There are way more wolves out there, so make sure you know what you really need, and exactly who is going to be a positive, upbuilding, and progressive force in achieving that for and with you.


Be Harmless as Doves…

The Greek word for harmless is ἀκέραιοι, which comes from ἀ (not), and κεράννυμι (to mix), and therefore means “to be unmixed”. In other words, to be pure. Purely human, natural, authentic you. The highest ideal you can conceptualise, not just as a theory, but a real living embodiment of it.


Yet when you stand apart from the rest, when you pioneer, blaze a new trail down the road less travelled, you will face inevitable criticism, especially if the fruits of your endeavours aren’t immediately evident to anyone else out there. Wolves and sheep don’t speak the same language, after all.


Don’t despair though, for you are in good company! In this next one-minute video, our Head Mentor at Lighthouse Global, Paul Waugh, gives you a quick rundown of one historically impactful example of what it takes to make your mark and really leave a legacy on this earth…



Can you imagine all of the haters that Thomas Edison would’ve had to deal with, over the course of 20 years?! Imagine if he gave in? If he didn’t back himself? It’s quite possible that without him striving to bring together relationships with the right kind of like-minded, like-hearted and like-spirited people in community to solve this problem of lighting our homes safely and effectively, we would quite literally be in dark times.


But First, Be Wise As Serpents!

That brings me to the final video I want to share with you. Here is Jordan Peterson again, teaching us how to stand up to those wolves… or as we would call them today — trolls!!


This is, effectively, how we ought to be wise as serpents. Streetwise as serpents! Be unapologetically firm, knowing you’re rooted in a conscience whose values are aligned with correct principles. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the trolling wanes or the hurt it causes subsides. It just means you know where you stand, and you become braver because of it. Our Head Mentor, Paul Waugh, said it best when it comes to this:

“Sometimes you will need to bring in a bit of venom. But in order to protect yourself only! You are going to have to bring in a bit of confrontation, you are going to have to tell them exactly where they stand. You take that snake and you mix it with the innocence of a dove and you’ve got the right mix.” ~ Paul Waugh

One thing I’d like to point out that has thus far been the unspoken thread of this blog… is that Jesus Christ was talking to his disciples. Plural. A group. A community. A family. And as Dr Peterson points out, as well as Paul Waugh does of Edison’s experience, our highest potential and value comes through community.


Missed that one? Scroll back up and check it out! Not only do you need to work that awareness and realise your authenticity, but you also need to find your kindred spirits to do so.


To learn about mentorship with Lighthouse Global on our mentoring & coaching page.


For more on handling toxic narcissism, and to get the right support, please check out our Parents Against Trolls & Trolling campaign.


Have a question? To send me feedback or share your thoughts,

please do get in touch and drop me an email— I’ll be happy to hear from you.


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14 Comments


zach54
zach54
Jan 12, 2022

What a powerful article and message! I especially like what you shared in relation to the power of community. Thank you!

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Daniel Schmitz
Daniel Schmitz
Jan 09, 2022

Nowadays there is so much focus on mental knowledge, so to read this powerful wisdom is very refreshing. In all my school years I’ve never heard “Our highest potential and value comes through community.” Wow, this should be taught (and lived) from an early age. Understanding the real meaning of the word harmless as “to be unmixed” / “to be pure” adds a lot of value and is so different to the common understanding of the word harmless as being passive. Thank you Viv 😊

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Gillian Watson
Gillian Watson
Jan 09, 2022

Thank you for sharing this Viv, some really key points to remember!

Like the importance of community in us each individually being able to reach our highest potential and value. We aren't meant to be alone in this world, as rugged individuals, we are meant to build and grow and develop together, helping the 'herd of sheep' survive and thrive collectively, through serving, supporting, caring and loving each other. Really great read!

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stasiasimpson
stasiasimpson
Jan 08, 2022

Brilliant article, I really needed to read this today- how to get the right mix of the gentleness of a dove and the venom (without vengeance) to stand for what is right, to not waiver and back down when something needed to be said..especially when it involves the well-being of an innocent. We have to help people learn how to use and direct their anger well in a world where people are pathologically murderous AND is increasing.

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Jack Comer
Jack Comer
Jan 08, 2022

Thank you for collating the wisdom in these videos together for everyone to learn from. Having serpents in our lives can be extremely damaging, especially when we can’t distinguish them as I have learned to do more recently. I have found that being a part of a loving “sheep” community has helped me to have the courage to value myself and stay away from the vipers in my life.

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