John Ortberg In his book, “Everyone is normal until you get to know them” speaks of this dilemma of getting close to one another without getting hurt. With the following illustration; The North American Porcupine is a member of the rodent family and has about thirty thousand quills attached to his body. The quills are designed to be driven into an enemy and the enemies own body heat causes the quills to expand and become embedded into the enemies body, soon the quills fester causing infection and if not treated the quills become fatal.
The porcupine is not considered a lovable animal. Books and movies have been written about all kinds of animals. There is Lassie the dog, Mr. Ed the horse, Arnold the Pig, Flipper the dolphin, Gentle Ben the bear, a killer whale named free wily, Even skunks have Pepe Le Pew – I do not know any famous porcupines and I know no one who has a pet porcupine.
Porcupines have two methods of relating others attack or withdraw. Porcupines travel alone. Except in the fall when a young porcupine’s thoughts to turn to love. But love turns out to be risky for a porcupine – so here is the dilemma, how does a porcupine get close without getting hurt? Though the miracle of creation, God has given the porcupine the ability to allow another porcupine to get close enough to have a relationship so the species will survive. For a brief, time every autumn porcupines give up the “withdraw or attack” mode for the joy of bonding in a relationship.
Porcupines understand they must get close to one another so they can survive.
It is the same way with us
We need to get close to one another so we can survive – no so we can thrive in relationships. See it is easy to withdraw and seek to be a loner or to attack others when they don’t agree with you or when they disappoint you. But that was never God’s design for us. God’s design for us was for each of us to relate to one another in community known as the church.