No kidding! This is the report out of Merced, California, dated October 9, 2001, and released by Reuters. Apparently, the northern California man owned two pets, the snake and the dog. The 200-pound Burmese python ate the 30-pound pit-bull. Pit-bulls, whether fairly or not, are known for their ferocity. They annually rank in the top ten breeds of dogs for number of bites administered. However, this Fido got on the wrong side of a reptile whose appetite and body outweighed his own.
How this situation is reminiscent of Galatians 5:15 and situations that still play out today among God’s people. “Bewitching” influences (3:1) troubled the Galatians, gospel-changing (1:6-9) and Judaizing (4:21) brethren whose attitude was apparently as much a problem as their false teaching. They inflamed and agitated (5:12), seemingly lacked love (5:13-14), and were guilty of biting and devouring “one another” (5:15).
Even in this circumstance, Paul warned of consequences these theological terriers might reap from one another. He writes, “But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!” (NKJ). Two of the brotherhood’s more rabid editors, in their respective journals, continue to sink their teeth deeper into the other, accusing the other of ever-mushrooming heresy and false teaching. With their pens, they have assaulted the innocent as well as the guilty in the past. Perhaps, lest the other be thought to be a mightier “defender” of the truth, each now seems to have whetted their appetites anew on one another.
At times, jealousy in the church has led one or some to set their fangs on their prey. Together, the pack devours their isolated victim. Beware! The predator can become the prey. More than one pit-bull has been swallowed by a python. This same thing can happen to backbiters in the local church, attacking others viciously and leaving gashes on the reputations of undeserving, if not innocent, brothers and sisters. It is hard to highly esteem gossips and petty-minded folk, and soon they are in the cross hairs of others.
Remarkably, the Lord’s remedy, when applied, works wonders and avoids such ghastly attacks. Paul writes, “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted” (6:1). He also concludes, “Whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (6:7b). For those who dog others unwarrantedly, look closer. That gaping and fanged opening is not the doghouse door.