Its a dog eat dog world out there; OK, I know you have heard that one before but nevertheless I think it fits the picture. What is unusual here is that it is happening so quickly that two "lunches" are happening simultaneously. In 1979 I remember graduating from preaching school and leaving New York for my first church in Delaware. It wasn't long before I began to understand that my concepts of what church should be and the reality of real life situations were not the same. In every church where I ministered there were always problems and that should have been no surprise, but hey, I was only 29 and full of idealism. With that in mind, I thought you might find this passage interesting.
Galatians 5:1-18 (WEB)
1) Stand firm therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and don’t be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
2) Behold, I, Paul, tell you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will profit you nothing.
3) Yes, I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
4) You are alienated from Christ, you who desire to be justified by the law. You have fallen away from grace.
5) For we, through the Spirit, by faith wait for the hope of righteousness.
6) For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision amounts to anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith working through love.
7) You were running well! Who interfered with you that you should not obey the truth?
8) This persuasion is not from him who calls you.
9) A little yeast grows through the whole lump.
10) I have confidence toward you in the Lord that you will think no other way. But he who troubles you will bear his judgment, whoever he is.
11) But I, brothers, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Then the stumbling block of the cross has been removed.
12) I wish that those who disturb you would cut themselves off.
13) For you, brothers, were called for freedom. Only don’t use your freedom for gain to the flesh, but through love be servants to one another.
14) For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
15) But if you bite and devour one another, be careful that you don’t consume one another.
16) But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you won’t fulfill the lust of the flesh.
17) For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, that you may not do the things that you desire.
18) But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
(Galatians 5:1-18, WEB)
Love, true love, means new rules. It means living a different life; one based not only on your interests (your well-being), but on that of others. The Galatians, and in fact most churches need to learn this. Life within the church is not to be a dog-eat-dog environment, but rather one based on love, rather than on rules. I really like the saying: Love God and do what you like. To me it says we have great freedom and very few rules. Except perhaps that small little thing called love. I have been trying to get that one really right for decades and frankly I am still working on it. One last thought: if you waited a few minutes and then slaughtered the snake, would you be eating snake or a combination food. After you devour the first bite you might know...