Feed the Good Wolf - Sunday, September 28, 2014
An old legend tells of a wise grandfather teaching his grandson about the importance of making good choices. “A fight is going on inside me,” he explained to the boy. “It’s a terrible fight between two wolves. One is evil: he is anger, greed, selfishness, resentment, lies, and pride.” The other,” he continued, “is good: he is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, truth, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you—and inside every other person as well.”
The grandson listened intently and asked, “Which wolf will win?”
The grandfather answered simply, “The one you feed.”
That wise grandfather understood that we each choose for ourselves whether we will nurture our good or bad inclinations. This ability to choose is among our greatest gifts, but with this gift comes the obligation to take responsibility for our choices and live with their consequences. Those consequences may not be immediate, but they are certain—as certain as the advantage a healthy wolf has over a starving one.
We’ve seen this in our own lives and in the lives of those around us. The person who chooses to hold on to hurt feelings and catalog offenses ends up with a well-fed wolf of bitterness and pessimism. Eventually, regret and sorrow always accompany dishonesty, immorality, and selfishness. On the other hand, when we choose to forgive, to love, to hope—even when circumstances seem hopeless—our life takes a completely different turn. We find more reason to hope, more people to love, and more forgiveness in our heart.
Yes, ultimately our choices, good or bad, are uniquely ours. We can neither blame them on others nor pass them off to others. If the good wolf inside of us is to thrive, it will be because we choose to feed it—by acting in wisdom and good judgment, by living prudently and positively each day. In decisions large and small, we can choose to feed the good inside us.
-Lloyd D. Newell