She looked ridiculous. Around and around she went, stirring up dust and creating a depression in the sand. Usually she lost her balance and fell over on her side, or, when she tried to stand up afterward, reeled like a drunk and sprawled on the ground, all thoughts of dignity abandoned. It was so much fun, who cared how silly she looked?
One day she actually caught her tail, and plopped down with it between her two front paws and started chewing. After just a few minutes, though, reality checked in and she let it go. It may have been fun to chase, but actually eating it was another matter entirely. Even Little Miss Butterball, who loves to eat, was not about to endure the pain.
For some reason, we often lack that good sense. I have seen married couples carp and bicker, criticize and complain, even in front of others, to the point that you check the legal column the next morning to see if a divorce decree was filed the night before. Anyone with sense, we think, would see how such words and actions would eat away at the bonds of their union. Indeed, marriage takes constant maintenance to insure that those bonds remain intact. They certainly won’t survive such destructive behavior, but people continue to behave that way, impervious to the embarrassment they cause anyone with earshot, and heedless to the effect on their relationship.
We sometimes treat the body of Christ the same way. One person has a disagreement with another, about most anything, and that one is his target from then on. All he can see is the bad, never the good. All he can hear are the things that rankle, never the things that help and encourage, and so he is certain his behavior is justified. Not only does he chase his tail in a fruitless circle, but he gathers as many as he can to join the pursuit. In some cases, he actually catches the other person—because he now has so many on his “side” and they, too, are so dizzy from running in circles that their vision is skewed—and so he takes a big chomp and chews to his heart’s content, passing it on for others to share in as well. Ah, what a grand meal—yum, yum, yum!
His distorted vision keeps him from seeing the harm he is causing the body of the Lord by his arrogant, self-centered attitude, and the good that might have been accomplished in spreading the gospel in the community is put on the back burner for the sake of “winning,” even when the contest is petty and of no spiritual value. It also keeps him from seeing exactly how foolish he looks as he destroys the things he claims to be trying to save.
Do you know what an anthropophagus is? It is a cannibal, perhaps one of the worst things we can imagine being, especially in our enlightened and civilized age. Yet the Bible says that is exactly what we are when we reach this point. Take a look at the relationships you have in your family and in the kingdom today. Make sure you are not partaking of a meal that God would consider abominable.
For you, brethren, were called for freedom, only use not your freedom for an occasion to the flesh, but through love be servants one to another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, in this: you shall love your neighbor as yourself. But if you bite and devour one another, make sure you be not consumed one of another, Gal 5:13-15