Unlike creatures who travel in packs, porcupines travel solo. When they encounter other animals they respond by withdrawing, or using their quills to attack. Once their deadly quills become embedded the wounds fester, causing suffering, even death. Now porcupines do not necessarily want to be alone, they just do not know how to get close without hurting others or themselves.
Sound familiar? If so it is not surprising, because as human beings we employ attack and withdrawal strategies every day. We each have our own set of quills; things like gossip, anger, pride, competitiveness, insensitivity, greed and control, to name just a few. By aiming them at others, we damage relationships, hurt people and end up lonely. Now, while it is not always easy, porcupines want to be able to get along together if only to ensure future generations. Their only other option is extinction. The same goes for us too!
That is why Paul writes: ‘Live in harmony with each other. Don’t try to act important …enjoy the company of ordinary people’ (Romans 12:16). It matters to God how you get along with your family, your neighbors and your co-workers. The Bible says: ‘Give more honor to others than to yourselves. Do not be interested only in your own life, but be interested in the lives of others’ (Philippians 2:3-4). James writes: ‘Do the hard work of getting along.’ Come on, you have to work at it! Pull in your quills today and ask God to help you build loving relationships with the other porcupines who share your space!