The Porcupine Syndrome

Porcupine. Image credit

Churches tend to act like porcupines on a freezing winter night. “The cold drives us closer together in a tight huddle to keep warm. As we begin to snuggle really close, our sharp quills cause us to jab and prick each other—a condition which forces us apart.” (Source: Truth Matters) We call this “The Porcupine Syndrome.” Sadly, there are times that we get hurt instead of getting healed in the church. Instead of picking each other up, we pick on one another. Instead of being united, we end up divided. 

Instead of being united, we end up divided. Image credit

Pastor Chuck Swindoll wrote, “How can we break ye old porcupine syndrome? The answer in one word is involvement. Or, to use the biblical term, it is fellowship.” (Ibid) But in order to make sure we become a healing community, we have to keep in mind the basis for our fellowship. In his “Disillusionment With the Church,” Pastor Kevin DeYoung wrote, “We are disappointed and critical of our brothers and sisters in Christ, because they are not giving us what we want or what we think we need. But true fellowship isn’t grounded in what others can give us. Rather, it is grounded in what we have already received. … We can live sacrificially for each other, because we are bound together in Christ, who meets our every need.

Our Lord Jesus is the reason behind our gathering together. “We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.” (1 John 4:19-21, ESV) 

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His sacrificial death made fellowship possible. Because of the cross, we are free to express our love for one another instead of expecting something from others. DeYoung added, “I don’t need you to fill my cup, because Christ does. You don’t need me to fill your cup, because Christ already has. I can serve you truly sacrificially and you can serve me sacrificially, because we come to one another in Christ who is our all in all.” (The Gospel Coalition) We fellowship to serve, not to be served. And even if we get hurt at times, that should not stop us from reaching out with a healing hand.

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Brethren, let us heal, not hurt.


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