Biting and Devouring
When a hen is a chicken house is a little different, or develops a sore, other hens will peck at the her and create a bigger sore, making it worse. Eventually the hen will be pecked to death.
That is what Paul means when he talks about biting and devouring one another (Gal. 5:15). He is telling the Galatians, and us, to stop pick, pick, picking at each other until we create a sore and eventually consume one another. Have you ever noticed this verse appears just before Paul talks about the works of the flesh versus the fruit of the spirit? Included in the works of the flesh are attitudes that describe this kind of behavior. Conversely, the fruit of the spirit addresses the kind of heart we ought to have. If we bite and devour one another, the works of the flesh are ruling and we are not walking by the spirit.
Hen pecking is not beneficial to edification. It hurts. It humiliates. It destroys. It is also easy. It takes no thought for another. Nothing good ever comes from it. Paul also gives us some solutions. He tells the Ephesians to be kind, tenderhearted and forgiving of one another. He then says, “As Christ forgave you.” He will tell the Colossians to “put on tender mercy, kindness, bearing with one another. But above all things put on love, which is the bond of perfection” (Col. 3:12-14). A few years ago there was a slogan, “What Would Jesus Do?”
What did Jesus do? When the Pharisees tried to bind their opinions and hedges on others, He said, “They made things harder than they already were” (Matt. 23:4). However, when Jesus encountered the people, He had compassion on them. When the woman was washing His feet, He had compassion on her. When the little children came to Him, He had compassion on them. What if we had compassion where there is room for compassion rather than biting and devouring one another over things that will not cause anyone to lose their soul?