I come from a long line of cannibals. My ancestors loved to chew up (and sometimes spit out) people. Mine was a particularly heinous group that made no distinction between "them" and "us." Members of our own family were just as likely to fall victim as were others. Imagine the tensions that arose when we gathered—each one wondering who might be served up next.
In their defense, my family lived in darkness. Then, the frigid winter I turned 10, one brilliant, fiery flame warmed within me the hope of a different way of living—of turning away from snarling, biting, and chewing to embracing others. I became like Edward Cullen of Twilight fame, recognizing my evil heritage, engaged in a struggle with the nature of my flesh.
Unfortunately, the flame was quenched that had begun to glow within me. With no one to add the kindling of truth to the sputtering spark within, the ember grew cold. Broken bonds, wicked words, and shattered souls littered the path of my life, until one day it all became more than I could bear alone. Tired and out of fight, I found myself knocking on the door of Christendom. Surely I would find refuge there!
I re-entered the kingdom scarred and bleeding, hoping to find healing for my wounds. And I did find some who bathed my bite marks and bound up my wounds. I also found others—others like myself. I found out there are cannibals in Christendom. Hard-headed, wounded creatures like me who had yet to lose their bloodlust.
You know who we are—though you might not recognize us on sight. We are the sweetly smiling sisters who bite your back when you turn away, the nosy Nancys who come sniffing around for the scent of some juicy morsel to share. We are the ones who listen to your heart only to chew it up and vomit it out amid groans of gossip. Yes, there are cannibals in Christendom, in our ministries, in our church offices.
You may not believe me. I implore you; take a look at Galatians 5:15. God warns that if we keep on biting and devouring each other…we will destroy each other. In this same chapter, God tells us that cannibalism is a desire of the sinful nature – the nature that is only subdued by the refining flames of the Spirit.
So, what can be done? First, look in the mirror before you look around you. Does a cannibal stare back at you? Like Edward Cullen, we have to recognize and understand the nature of our flesh. Only in strengthening ourselves can we hope to help others.