Have you met the “Porcupine People?” For the sake of simplification I will refer to these unique individuals as the “PP” in life. Believe it or not everyone has met, knows, works with, or maybe even lives with one of the PP. Read the following short story and then we can talk about the wonderful PP in our lives and why the good Lord put them there!
As the story goes there were two porcupines living in the Arctic and they were both freezing to death. So they drew together for the sake of keeping warm enough to survive. As they drew close they HURT each other. Their prickly quills brought much unwanted pain. So they would draw apart again only to find themselves in greater pain from the frigid temperature. Oh what a dilemna —stay apart and meet their demise as a frozen “porcu-cicle” or hold on to each other despite the cost of the pain to live. In the end they decided that in spite of the discomfort of drawing close, it was the better option than freezing to death by staying apart!
God’s Word in Colossians 3 is one of my favorite scriptures that gives clear instructions on how to live under trying and difficult situations with those certain people who poke us with their “quills.” It is the “survival guide” on how to make it through those prickly moments with our own Porcupine People! And don’t we all have those prickly folks in our lives? I think some like to sharpen their quills daily just to make sure I feel their sting!
I like the Message Bible version of Colossians 3:12-14 because it makes the point as plain and simple as it can get. It reads:
“So chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, WEAR LOVE. It’s your basic all purpose garment. Never be without it.”
Wow there is so much in these verses and most of it makes me realize just how short I fall of living out that scripture when the quills of certain PP start poking me! Am I alone here? With all due respect I probably have to answer for you and say that most of you have been there or are in this place right now. You are getting rather “cold” but alas when you look around for a warm fuzzy feel good person to soothe you all you see is a …PORCUPINE!!!
So let’s look more closely at Colossians for a minute. I believe that God shows us how to dress in the wardrobe he has chosen because this chapter and these verses talk to us about dealing with those we may not LIKE but that we are called to LOVE! Colossians is not referring to a battle against an enemy as addressed in Ephesians 6 which addresses the Armor of God. This battle in Colossians is against those who are “non enemies” even though they seem to stretch our patience to the limit! They are none other than those prickly PPs. But guess what?
There is a purpose for the Porcupine People in our lives.
All too often the PP are put in our lives ( by the good Lord Himself!) to work out the weakness and imperfections in US! Uh hellloooo. Yes I know it is hard to believe but we are not perfect either and furthermore try this next statement on for size.
Have you ever thought that maybe WE are a PP to some else?!!?
Aaahhhh! May the good Lord deliver us all! Yes the PPs are often those who may be closest to us and involved in our daily lives. It is quite likely that a PP can be found in the most common places like…
Our work place…
Under our own roof…
Yes even in our churches sitting in the seat right next to us at times!
Well if that is the case we better be sure to dress in love because according to God’s Word it is the one thing that will not fail!
As I have thought about some of the messes people get themselves into from poor choices I know I am not called to undo their problems no matter how much I love them or care for their well being! I have to admit I did not learn this painful lesson overnight which led to a lot of frustration in my life on more than one occasion. I have finally learned that I do not have the power ( nor the energy) to “fix” anyone other than myself and that is only by the grace of God. There is actually freedom in coming to that revelation. Not to mention peace of mind! Now on those days when a particular PP has invaded my space with extra sharp quills I purposely recall the story of the two frozen porcupines and the verse in Colossians 3. I find that it helps me take a deep breath, refocus and press on.
So dear ones, the next time you find yourself in a “frigid” situation and the only source of warmth is one of your PPs, take a deep breath, put on a layer of love, then embrace that person. Chances are it will only hurt for a little while. Who knows—your love may even knock those quills right off! Remember—Love does not fail. <3