Bear and Wolf did not like each other. Wolf was fast and ruthless. He was mean and angry without any reason why. He liked to be alone unless he was with his other wolf friends and no one other animal was welcome among them.
Bear was big and strong. He was usually alone and liked to follow his routine every day. There were places he liked to eat, rest, and relax.
One day Wolf wandered into the woods where Bear lay resting. Disturbed from his sleep, Bear stood in all his might to scare off the wolf. Wolf, however, wouldn’t relent. He was angered by the threats of the bear and not intimidated by his size.
Wolf growled and bent his hind legs in position to leap at the bear and the bear raised his claws ready to strike the wolf in his attack.
But then something unexpected happened.
Two vines from a tree whose branches overhung above the two enemies came down and wrapped around them. Wolf and Bear could not move but they snapped their teeth and growled at one another.
There they stood trapped and staring at one another with anger mounting and rising greater and greater, yet the vine would not budge.
“Tree,” Bear growled. “Why have you imprisoned us so? Let us finish what we started!”
Wolf just growled in anger unable to speak but wanting to be released as well.
The tree did not respond. The vines edged the bear and the wolf closer almost touching one another.
There the two animals stayed angry at each other, angry at the tree, and angry at themselves for being unable to escape the trap.
They stared in anger at one another often growling or snapping but unable to reach the other.
Time went on and they tired.
Then something even more unexpected occurred. They saw that their enemy was tired also. They saw the weakness in the other. They realized that they were just as helpless as their enemy.
In time the anger turned to weakness and the weakness turned their hatred into mercy. They saw the weakness in the other–a weakness that was shared–and could not use it in an attack.
Wolf spoke first this time. “Bear, there is one way for us to get out of this trap,” he said. “We can free each other by biting the vines from the other.”
Bear seemed to have the same idea, but said, “How can I be sure you will not attack me once you are free?”
Wolf replied, “I now see our shared weakness. Though of a different kind, we remain brothers and share in this struggle. I vow never again to attack you.”
“And I as well,” said Bear.
Then the two animals chewed the vines off of one another and were free.
From that day forward they called one another “brother” and made sure no other wolf or bear would attack the other as long as they lived.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. (Matthew 5:9)
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