Yesterday we looked out in time to see two doves running around the pole one of the feeders hangs from. While cardinals and titmice usually fly the four feet up from the ground to the feeders, the doves are content to peck off the ground what falls, and a great deal does. Pick up the binoculars and watch the seeds fly every time one of the birds “on high” pecks at it. Meanwhile, down below, the doves revel in the raining plenty.
Except those two. For several minutes they chased one another around and around and around that pole, the one trying to shoo the other away from the free meal. Occasionally the one in front got far enough ahead to stop and peck a seed, but the one behind, running literally ankle deep in food, never got a bite.
Kind of reminds me of a few Bible classes I have sat in. Two men wrapped up in their own opinions, chase one another around in circles with their “logic,” and neither one of them get any of the spiritual nourishment being offered that morning. Or one man desperately tries to have his meal while another of differing opinion cannot allow it and pursues him with “arguments about words.” In fact, if the man isn’t careful, he will usually be cornered right after class as the chase continues. Like those two birds I watched that day, neither one is fed, despite the banquet laid right in front of them.
Paul calls that sort of behavior “carnal” and immature, 1 Cor 3:1-3. He equates it with orgies and drunkenness, Rom 13:13. James puts it on a par with “every vile practice,” 3:16. All of them link quarreling with things like jealousy, envy, hostility, and selfishness. James even adds murder and adultery to the mix, 4:1-4. It is one thing to have a spirited discussion of the Scriptures. It is another entirely to refuse to consider new ideas, clinging to beliefs out of pride or dismissing a point simply because of who presented it, all cloaked in concern for words and their correct meanings while patently ignoring basic spiritual concepts like Divine authority and holiness.
Our spiritual meals are presented to help us glorify God, not to exalt ourselves over others. They are food for the soul, not ammunition for the spiteful. They are nourishment for the kind, not fodder for the vindictive. If all we can do is chase one another in circles with the Word of God, we don’t deserve to hold those sacred writings in our hands.
I laughed at those two stupid doves under my feeder. Then I just shook my head and sighed. I have seen too many Christians just like them.
For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh, Galatians 5:14-16.