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  • Writer's pictureLaura Kae

Sin: is it all just a big misunderstanding?

“Upset? Upset? You haven’t seen upset!” Have you ever wanted to respond to someone’s calming words with an actual explosion? “You think I am venting? Wait till I get started!!!”

Early last week a thought crossed my mind. What if all sin is caused by misunderstanding? What if it is me and one other person being on a different page? What if one of us simply does not understand what God says? We do not mean to be vicious. We just do not understand each other’s wounds or God’s love.

I listened to a few YouTube teachings by Beth Moore last week. Now Beth is my first small group junkie. Somewhere around my apartment are at least five of her Bible studies. Beth and I go way back. Listening to her teach is one of my guilty pleasures. I happened to listen to the first part of her teaching on how to love difficult people last week. I love the illustration she used. That of a porcupine and an innocent little puppy. There are some people in our lives we cannot seem to be around without getting a nose full of quills. Beth was not playing games. She pointed out some of the people in her Bible study audience were sitting next to their porcupine!

I thought it a perfect illustration of my thoughts earlier in the week about misunderstandings. Were my porcupines and I just on different wave lengths? If I sat down with each one and talked for hours seeking to understand their side of the story, would everything change? If we fully understood God’s love, would we quit hurting each other?

I have decided against my theory. Knowledge will help some, but not completely. I thought there were a few other reasons I keep hurting puppies and porcupines keep hurting me.

One of the motivating forces behind the poor communication skills between my porcupines and me is fear. Honestly by the time someone has hit the porcupine list, I have had a lot of experience feeling how interacting with this person is going to make me feel. I do not want to be open and transparent with them anymore. I want to tuck my tail between my legs and run underneath the deck like my first dog did when she was scared. Sometimes I wished I was the type of puppy that would bark instead of run, but even then I still would get quills in my nose!

Either way I am just trying to defend myself. All I want to do is protect my puppy face. If my porcupines knew that, wouldn’t they change? If I was the porcupine, wouldn’t I?

I do not think so because sometimes we are each other’s porcupines and we are both trying to protect our puppy faces. So if we are both just scared of getting hurt again, why can’t communication cure it?

Well, it will some. If trust could instantly be regained, it would help more. But there is another problematic feeling that is deeper than the fear. I may be trying to protect myself from receiving more wounds, but I do not want you to see my pain, weakness and sin. Behind the fear is shame. I am just trying to cover my vulnerability. Like my first mother Eve, I feel the need to cover myself. I know I am broken, and I am ashamed of it.

I am so grateful Jesus removes my shame. He has paid the price for all the hurt my brokenness has caused. He has paid for every porcupine quill I have driven into puppy noses. His robe of righteousness covers my nakedness.

So why do I keep hurting people? Could it really be because I do not know God’s love fully? There is no human on earth who can explain His love to me because they do not know it either. They are all part of a universe full of hurting people hurting people. If I could understand the greatness of God’s love at least intellectually, would it change what I chose to do with my porcupine quills?

Yes. No. Maybe so.

The Apostle Paul said we now see God as if we are looking through a glass darkly (their glass back then wasn’t as clear as ours!). Someday we will see Him face to face and know Him completely. The Apostle John said perfect love casts out fear.

So if I allowed perfect love to cast out my fear, would I quit hurting people? I think the answer to that might be yes; but I do not think I will fully experience this answer on this earth.

Do I walk in less fear and shame than I used to walk in? Yes! As I realize Jesus is my covering, I am not so afraid of being known. Sometimes I even consider allowing someone to know me fully.

There is something else that helps us quit being porcupines in the lives of helpless puppies. Someone in my life keeps reminding me I will never be able to quit being hurt by porcupines, so I should live in the Spirit so I can love my porcupines with Christ’s love.

Yes, I think the answer is living in the Spirit, surrendering to God and accepting the magnitude of my weakness. Allowing His Spirit to work through me to love this hurting world. Putting on the full armor of God (salvation, righteousness, peace, truth, faith and His Word), so the porcupine quills cannot penetrate my tender flesh. Living in Him, so I can produce the “fruit of the Spirit” – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Someday will all my porcupines go away? No, two broken people will always cause each other some pain; but everyday I can choose to allow His Spirit to guide my actions and make me more like Jesus.

Do you feel more like a porcupine or puppy right now? What can you do to love your porcupines? Are there any safe ways you could communicate to your porcupines how much they are hurting you?


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