While Christians and the Church, even in the best of times, is surrounded by enemies who hate our Lord and His Church for 2,000 years we have overcome. The Roman Empire which once persecuted the Church converted and became transformed in Christian love. And so it has continued through the years. Even in the recent past, the first revolutions without violence ever known in history were brought about by Christians who overcame the Soviet Union and its satellite states. Even on a personal level, conversions are constantly brought about by the love shown to others by Christians and their persistence in faith. From the person-to-person level all the way to the national and international level Christians have in the past and still do use gentleness and wisdom to change the world in Christ.
I don't personally have anything more insightful to say about this. The saints have had much to say about this passage:
If you love the good disciples, no thanks are due to you on that account; but rather seek by meekness to subdue the more troublesome. Every kind of wound is not healed with the same plaster. Mitigate violent attacks [of disease] by gentle applications. Be in all thingswise as a serpent, and harmless as a dove.For this purpose you are composed of both flesh and spirit, that you may deal tenderly with those [evils] that present themselves visibly before you.
St Ignatios of Antioch
He sends them unprovided, bidding them look to those who should receive them for support; but rests not in that, but shews his power still further, “Lo, I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves.” Where observe that He does not say merely ‘to wolves,’ but “in the midst of wolves,” to shew His [p. 380] excellent might therein, that the sheep would overcome the wolves though they were in the midst of them; and though they received many bites from them, yet were they not destroyed, but rather convert them. And it is a much greater and a more wonderful power that can change their hearts than that can kill them. Among wolves He teaches them to shew the meekness of sheep.
St John Chrysostom
The harmlessness of doves is shewn by the assumption of that form by the Holy Spirit; as the Apostle speaks, “In malice be ye children.”
“Wise,” that they might escape [p. 381] snares; “simple,” that they might not do evil to others. The craft of the serpent is set before them as an example, for he hides his head with all the rest of his body, that he may protect the part in which life is. So ought we to expose our whole body, that we may guard our head which is Christ; that is, that we study to keep the faith whole and uncorrupt.
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May God bless all who read my ramblings,
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