When I was the head wrangler at Camp Redcloud one of the scripture themes during staff training focused on Galatians 5:15 that says if you bite and devour one another, watch out or you will be destroyed by one another. It was thought provoking to me then and it is as much so now. We may have been at a Christian camp but when you work six and a half days a week with little sleep it wears on the staff. If you have ever watched the Deadliest Catch they go through the same thing as they race against the clock to bring in their catch.
The interesting thing to me about this verse is it doesn’t say, you might be or there is a chance it will happen. It says you will be. I watch my kids pick on each other and if we do not step in sometimes it literally can look like a biting and devouring match. We feel it and see it on tv, social media and these emotions are trickling and affecting relationships offline.
We as adults are biting and devouring each other in fear, in the name of standing up for what we believe in and in so doing we are destroying one another. A government or any other force can stand by and let us pick ourselves apart. As our kids watch on they begin to bite and devour each other as well. It’s the trickle down effect. What started as biting and picking at each other has blown up to begin to destroy us.
The question I have to ask then is how do we tackle this at home, in our community and in the world. What can I do? I firmly believe change starts in our own home.
1. We strive to teach our kids to listen to one another. Honoring those around them by seeing every life as precious and beautiful to God.
2. Teaching them to see those who hurt them as human. Someone who has a hurt in their heart that Jesus needs to heal.
3. Keep sarcasm at bay. It is a way to say something in a joking way to communicate a hurt or frustration. The truth is, “Out of the mouth the heart speaks”.
4. Encourage them to see the situation and themselves for the truth and grace it needs. Understanding we do not fully know someone’s heart and it’s between them and God.
5. Consciously making the choice to be slow to speak, slow to anger and abounding in love as James teaches.
6. When all is said and done, what I can do is pay attention to what is coming out of my own mouth and actions. Knowing my kids will do as I do, not as I say. Asking the Holy Spirit to reveal to me when I am biting and devouring those around me. I have a shotgun mouth and say what’s on my mind. I have tried to do this less and breathe through my anger.
We bite and devour out of fear, selfishness and anger. Take responsibility for my emotions and turn them into something positive. Join me as I pray through consciously having words and actions that encourages those around me. May we turn the tide and build up rather than destroy.