Galatians 5: 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
Paul makes an interesting observation here. You want to fulfill the law? Love, love is the key, love is the answer. It is a concept that has been preached even by Christ Himself. However it is the next piece of scripture that makes us give pause. You will be destroyed by each other……I love the imagery that Paul uses, it you bite and devour each other…….It reminds me of a dog I used to have. I had a pretty cool dog when I was younger, great personality, good all-around dog. Sure he did things to irritate you like all dogs do, but at the end of the day, he was a good dog. We lived in a neighborhood where the backyards were separated by hurricane fences. Some people call them chain-link fences. Anyway, we had a young boy that lived in the house next to us. Good kid, good family. However several times I would catch that boy teasing and poking at my dog. He would run, and scream, and bang on the fence until the dog would start to chase him, and bark, and try to jump up and get at the boy. Time and time again I would tell the boy, “look, you have to stop, he does not think that is funny, he does not think you are playing. You have to quit.” Well as some would say, boys will be boys, and this behavior continued. Now sure enough, as you can imagine, one day that boy is running my dog up and down the fence, the dog is pretty worked up. I step out back, and of course the boy stops, but while I am out there, I figure I might as well piddle around and get a couple of things done. Well the boy decides to come see what I am up to, and into the backyard he comes. Sure enough ole’ blue sees the kid on his home turf, makes a bee line for him, and before the kid can get the gate open and back through it, Blue reaches up and bites him, right on the butt! Bit him pretty hard to (after all he did have a point to make) now in the end the boy was fine, nothing more than pride was hurt, and me and his father had a little chuckle about it that evening….because after all, we can all relate, right? But take away the dog, and the fence, and replace it with two people living next to each other, and you get the exact idea of what Paul was talking about . Have we not all at some point been the dog, or the kid….most likely we have at some point or the other been both. No too fun a place to be is it? Yet we have brought ourselves to the point of being bitten, or doing the biting, because we have forgot to love. If we continue, not only will we be bitten, but surely we will be destroyed. We are human, we like to pick, we like to poke, and we like to “stir the pot”, as my father would say. We can’t help it, the desire is there, by the same token we want to lash out, we want to retaliate, we want to destroy those that might be poking us with a stick. That is where the love comes in. There is only one thing that can conquer hate, and that is love. There is only one thing that can conquer evil, and that is love. There is only one thing that can overcome any obstacle, and that is the Lord, and folks, the Lord is nothing but pure love. It is not enough to allow a little love in, it is not enough to love a few things in life. We have to flood our lives with love, so much so that is fills our lives, and leaves no room, not even a foot hold for the devil to work in a little hate. If we bite, if we poke, if we let the hate in, the we will destroy each other. I for one do not want to be destroyed, but more so, I do not want to stand before the Throne of the Lord, and explain why I destroyed another. The ambition, the greed, the scorn, whatever the drive that nudges us to the brink…..all of those reasons will count for very little, and will sound very trivial when we compare them with eternity. So love my friends, love often, love deep, and love more than expected. I can promise you that no one has ever made an enemy by trying to give more love than they get.