Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Painted Lady Butterfly vs American Lady Butterfly

Which butterfly is pictured in these photos?

These two butterflies confuse many of us. They are two totally different butterflies that are in the same genus of classification. The first photo is of the American Painted Lady, Vanessa virginiensis. The second photo is of the Painted Lady, Vanessa cardui.

Many people who raise Painted Lady butterflies will identify an American Lady incorrectly. They resemble but are not the same at all. The caterpillars look very different from each other.

The first photograph is of a Painted Lady caterpillar. The second photograph is of an American Lady caterpillar.

Although the caterpillars cannot be confused easily, the adult butterflies are easily confused. What looks like a Painted Lady butterfly may actually be an American Lady butterfly and vice versa.

In the same way we confuse butterflies, it is easy to confuse the heart and intent of people.

Jesus had people misunderstanding the intent of his heart. I have tried to learn from the things Jesus said and did. Sometimes he defended himself while other times he was silent. It's hard to know when to speak and when to be silent.

Jesus faced what would be (for most of us) a very heart-breaking situation. His very friends said that he was deranged and came to take him by force.  (Mark 3)

In some situations we are often only presented with part of what we should know. Someone may give twisted or incomplete facts about another person. This can cause a person to look like he/she is not the person he/she really is inside. Other times people will intentionally tell absolute untruths about another person.

When I am friends with two people who are in disagreement, I find it heartbreaking. It is especially difficult when I realize that one of them is deliberately trying to make the other person to appear to be of evil intent. But who do I believe when it is not a situation where facts are provable?

The hard part is for those who are friends of both parties - who do they believe?

No matter how many people call an American Lady a Painted Lady, it does not make it a Painted Lady. It remains an American Lady.

No matter what is said about anyone that is untrue, it does not change the truth about that person. This is a lesson that I learned from these two butterflies.

When I am the person being misrepresented, it is easier to handle when I realize that nothing anyone can say changes what I am. As Popeye says, "I yam what I yam and that's what I yam".

Through this I've learned to pray for those who speak against me. This is taught in at least two places in the New Testament. What peace it brings!

I have also been the one caught 'in between' in friendships and business relationships. I have believed the wrong things about others many times, because I blindly believed to what others have said. I understand why it is easy to believe the wrong things about people. I thank God that He has forgiven me for the times I've misjudged others.

Matthew 18:15-17

And if thy brother sin against thee, go, show him his fault between thee and him alone: if he hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he hear thee not, take with thee one or two more, that at the mouth of two witnesses or three every word may be established. And if he refuse to hear them, tell it unto the church:

Mark 3:21

And when those who belonged to Him (His kinsmen) heard it, they went out to take Him by force, for they kept saying, He is out of His mind (beside Himself, deranged)!

Matthew 5:44

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

Luke 6:28

Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.

I thank God for those who have worked to bring peace as much as possible in difficult situations.


  1. I love this blog so much and this really touched my heart. I picked the right adult painted lady, but got the caterpillar wrong. Even though I picked the first caterpillar picture to be the American lady with absolute confidence, I was mistaken. With people it's easy to be the same way, you think you know them, but only God knows them and their true intent.

    Unfortunately, when most people hear over and over again that the American lady is a Painted lady, people start to listen and say yeah, that is a painted lady, leading to the wrong judgment. Even people that are supposed to be trusted can lead us to the wrong judgment (John 8:13)"The Pharisees challenged him, "Here you are, appearing as your own witness: your testimony is not valid". (Can you imagine saying that to Jesus?) People's words can be a strong weapon against each other and sadly used to destroy rather than build. (Proverb 25:21) "With his mouth the godless destroys his neighbor, but through knowledge the righteous escape."

    Fortunately the good news is we aren't asked to judge but we're taught to (Mark 12:30) "Love thy neighbor as yourself" and (Luke 6:35)"Do on to others as you would have done to you". Proverb (25:21,22) "If your enemy is hungry, give him food, if he is thirsty give him water."

    What I believe is through patients and prayer the light will always shine on the truth.

    God bless,

    1. Chad, Great thoughts. Thank you for sharing them on this blog! ~Edith

  2. I love this. Thank you.

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts too. It means a lot to us. ~Edith