Behold, I send you forth as sheep among wolves. Be therefore wise as serpents and innocent as doves.
At first glance, this command comes across as counter-culture and wildly inconsistent.
The very idea that God would send you (as a gentle, soft-spirited sheep) “to the wolves” seems like He’s putting you in direct danger. Simultaneously, He’s directing you to be as tactful as a serpent while keeping the innocence of a dove.
To me, Matthew 10:16 is (actually) reminding you to be clever and skillful enough to avoid conflicts without losing the dove-like purity that would allow you to live God’s truth without wavering.