Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts ...." Colossians 3:12-15a
The woodland creature known as the porcupine weighs 15-20 pounds.
This primarily nocturnal animal gets its name from the Latin word for "pig" and the French word for "thorn." These "prickly pigs" have 30,000 quills, each with a mass of tiny overlapping barbs.
When threatened, these rodents first try to escape and if that doesn't work, they tuck their vulnerable little heads, turn their backs and whamo! When touched, the quills dislodge into an attacker's warm flesh, and the barbs on the quills flare out and work their way deeper into the flesh of the attacker.
Though not poisonous, the quills may kill. Animals with quills in their mouths can die of starvation or from an infection.
Porcupines are not known to be lovable or amiable.
* They don't hang out in colonies like other rodents do.
* They detach from their mother and are self-sufficient just a few months after birth.
It's a small wonder their peculiarities don't render them extinct.
Have you ever thought that most of us have some porcupine tendencies? All of us have personality traits that are a bit prickly toward others, qualities that keep people away.
If that's so (and it is), then maybe we might do well to look at the porcupine and see how they manage to survive and get along. There are some things they do to minimize their prickliness.
1. When they want to get close, they flatten their quills. If both do this at the same time, the chances of injury are greatly diminished.
2. In wintertime, a small group may do the same, so the individuals may cluster together for warmth in what is called a "prickle."
Maybe there are a few porcupines in your life that have stuck their prickles on you. Probably you've jabbed your spikes into someone too. We all have quills, but like the porcupine we can learn to get along.
We, who have been washed of our sins by the Savior's blood and are recipients of His grace, can learn to flatten our quills and make harmony a reality.
This week let us take a lesson from the prickly pigs: flatten our quills and make things work.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, in spite of the world's hatred toward Him, Jesus came into this world to win our forgiveness. In doing so, He suffered often from the quills of angry and jealous individuals. Grant that Jesus be glorified as we put down our barbs and do our best to get along. This we ask in Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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