“… love the family of believers…” (1 Peter 2:17 NLT)
The Canadian porcupine is a large quill-covered rodent that is usually dark brown or black in colour with white highlights. The name “porcupine” comes from the Latin words “porcus” meaning pig and “spina” meaning thorn. They have a stocky body, a small face, short legs, and a short, thick tail. An adult porcupine has about 30,000 quills that cover all of its body except its underbelly, face, and feet. The German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer compared the human race to a prickle of porcupines huddling together on a cold winter’s night.
Some Christians tend to be more prickly than others. Sometimes, the character of an individual, shaped by years of life’s difficulties and disappointments, tends towards pessimism and prickliness. Other times, a somewhat distorted understanding of the gospel prompts individuals to “market” Jesus with an “in your face” brashness and impertinence, that does more to deter people from Christ, rather than draw people to Him. And yet others are plagued their entire lives by a sense of insecurity, that results in depression and prickliness, as a consequence of parents who refused to discipline in love.
Undoubtedly, there are many more reasons in this badly broken, fallen world for believers to act prickly! God’s plan, however, is that believers be kind and gentle to all, both inside and outside the walls of the church. The title of the well-known worship song: “They will know we are Christians by our Love” is still a true adage! While we must not compromise the truth of Scripture, we must display that truth in a spirit of love and gentleness.
Yet, porcupines continue to exist within the church of Jesus Christ! And Jesus died to save these believers as well! His love extends to those who don’t have it altogether – who seem to move from one struggle to another, many of their own making – but, who through tears, confess that Jesus is their only hope, and recognize that Jesus suffered the agonies of Calvary for them! No, it is not easy to cuddle with a porcupine, but we can all be porcupines at times, and Jesus demonstrated for us, just how great His love is for every type of sinner! May God help us to love sincerely all those whom He chooses to bring into this family of believers!