We’ve all been around them – porcupine people; in fact, we’ve all been one to someone else at some point in our lives. We are imperfect people living in a world filled with imperfect people!
The quills of a porcupine are used as a defense mechanism to detour predators from getting too close to them. They are laid flat on the body until something comes near and they feel threatened and then the quills are raised to scare the other animal or person away.
Many times in our own lives we form relationships with people and all seems to be going well until something is said or done that threatens the security of the other person. The quills are raised and if we aren’t careful we will get too close and experience the pain of a stick!
All of us have past hurts that we carry through life. The quills or barbs of pain that we experience can be revisited by something that is said or done to invoke that same feeling of fear, pain or sense of insecurity. So, how can we avoid the sting of a porcupine person? And how can we live our lives lovingly without being a porcupine person?
1 Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”
Walk in love towards other people. Remember that just as you have sensitive areas in your life so they have in theirs as well. Love covers people with a blanket of security. It says to another that we understand their pain and respect their feelings. Love makes allowances for those times when people are vulnerable and subject to weaknesses.
Romans 12:18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
There are times when I’ve wished I could go back and pull out the quills of pain that I, as a porcupine person myself, have inflicted upon another, but often the pain is too great for that person to receive an apology or to forgive an offense. I pray that when I have done that that God will help me to not only forgive those who have hurt me but also to restore the relationships that I have had with those I have hurt. Sometimes that is not possible, but as the Word says, “if it is possible”, as much as it depends on me that I am to live in peace with all men.
Matthew 5:43-45 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy,’ “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, “that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
Go the extra mile; love them, even if it is from a distance; bless them; do good to them and pray for them. It’s hard to continue to hold a grudge against someone you are loving, blessing, being good to and praying for. Boundaries may have to be set up to guard your own heart and keep the distance so you are not placed in harm’s way, but love can still be shown from a distance in how you speak about that person, how you smile at them when encountering them, and in how you pray for them.
Matthew 6:14, 15 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. “But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Removing the barbs of hurtful encounters is done through forgiveness. It releases us from the pain and guilt of painful encounters with porcupine people and sets us free from the wounds that have been inflicted by people who are hurting within themselves. Porcupine people are often just reacting to hurts in their own lives that they are dealing with at that particular time. When the quills come up it is an indication that there is something in their heart that God wants to deal with. He is just bringing it to their attention. When that particular issue is not dealt with it will come up again and again until it has been resolved. We can’t change things that have been done to us but we do have control over our reaction to those things. Forgiveness allows us the freedom to move on without being tied to an offense. According to Matthew 6:15 it also clears our path for forgiveness with our heavenly Father. We need to forgive others so He will forgive us!
Pray that God will heal the hurts in both of your hearts! Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted. Wounds from the quills of a porcupine person can leave lasting effects, but God is the Healer. He heals the pain involved with the barbs of words that have been spoken that can’t be taken back. Emotional wounds can sometimes be more painful than physical wounds. They have a tendency to heal more slowly and leave scars and wounds that can be re-opened if not completely healed. But God is able to remove even the remembrance of those wounds. He heals completely and brings lasting peace into our hearts.
Father, I thank You that Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted. I pray today for those who have been hurt by words that have been spoken through times of misunderstandings and seasons of adversity in all of our lives. I pray that You will touch those who have been hurt through relationships that have gone sour and offenses that have been harbored in the hearts of those who have been injured. I ask You to set the captives free from the lasting effects of those offenses. And may we all be people of love living in peace with each other. May we consider the interests of the other person before our own and exercise forgiveness and understanding for their weaknesses. I pray that we will not be porcupine people but that we will cover the sins of hurtful words with our love. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.