The headline came from the cover of the February 4, 2006 issue of Science News. When I saw that headline, I had to read the accompanying article. The devils discussed in the article are some fierce creatures from Tasmania with the scientific name Sarcophilus harissii, but with the common name Tasmanian devils. Scientists at the University of Tasmania in Hobart have found that fighting Tasmanian devils have been transmitting cancer by biting one another on the neck and face. The resulting tumors usually cause the animal to die of starvation within six months.

The real devil also kills by biting and devouring. Peter warns us, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world” (1 Peter 5:8-9).

We must be careful that we do not fall into the devil’s trap by acting like little devils ourselves. Paul writes, “Brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:13-16).

My favorite cartoon character is Taz, the Tasmanian devil. I like to see him whirling around in that tornado, because I know that some comic mayhem is going to happen. Comic mayhem is one thing, but real mayhem in the church is certainly not comic. Let us see that we do not bite and devour one another!

– Bob Prichard

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