When I am washing dishes or preparing food at the kitchen counter, I love to look out the window and watch all the different birds feeding at the bird feeder. Spring is even more exciting as I look forward to seeing each new species that have returned to their summer breeding area. Each new day brings the anticipation of seeing yet another kind of bird.
The different species of birds have different feeding habits. A few, such as the chickadees, will land on the feeder, take a seed or two and then fly off to the nearest tree to eat. The sparrows, cardinals and juncos feed from both the feeder and the ground beneath, while the mourning doves seem to only eat the fallen seeds on the ground. I love having them all come to the feeder with one BIG exception – I hate the grackles!
The grackles are nothing but bird feeder bullies! They travel in “gangs” and don’t wait their turn at the feeder but rather, use their raucous cries and puffed up feather moves to intimidate the other birds and scare them away. Then they swarm the feeder and the ground below. The grackles on the feeder just throw the seed out everywhere while the ones beneath gobble everything up. Depending on the number in the “gang”, the grackles can totally empty the feeder out in about a day! They also have a nasty habit of robbing eggs from other birds’ nests!
While doing some research on grackles, I found some interesting, and accurate, terms used to describe grackles. One, is that they gather in large numbers to “mob” other animals that they don’t want in their territory – a bit of Alfred Hitchcock?? Another is that a large gathering of grackles is popularly known as a “plague” or an “annoyance”. I definitely concur with those adjectives!
Bullies have been around forever – probably since Cain killed his brother Abel. In Wikipedia, bullying is defined as ” the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively dominate others.” Now one would assume that there wouldn’t be such people in Christian churches, after all, Jesus preached “love thy neighbour”. Unfortunately, history has shown that bullies can be found in “church” as well as in the world. The Spanish Inquisition, Oliver Cromwell, and the Salem Witch Trials are just a few of the terrible examples of how the Word of God was twisted and perverted in order to persecute and prosecute those who were not “like-minded”.
Perhaps not as dramatic but just as damaging are the bullies that can be found throughout the Christian church today. I once heard them called “Bible thumpers” because they use scriptures to figuratively “thump” people with. Judgement, criticism, condemnation and guilt are used to threaten, frighten, and manipulate others. Church bullies want to be first. They want to be heard and noticed. They want to be in positions of power and authority. They want to decide what the pastor can or can’t preach and what kind of people can or can’t belong to “their” church.
Jesus called these self-righteous, self-important kind of people “vipers” and “white-washed tombs” – poisonous and filled with dead and unclean things.
Mat 12:34 Offspring of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
Mat 23:27 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which indeed appear beautiful outside, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.
Jesus said that those kind of people do not have the love of God in them.
Joh 5:42 But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you.
Jesus said that those kind of people have nothing to do with him and will have no place in his kingdom.
Mat 7:21 Not everyone who says to Me, Lord! Lord! shall enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in Heaven.
Mat 7:22 Many will say to Me in that day, Lord! Lord! Did we not prophesy in Your name, and through Your name throw out demons, and through Your name do many wonderful works?
Mat 7:23 And then I will say to them I never knew you! Depart from Me, those working lawlessness!
Instead of the Kingdom of Heaven, the “Christian” bully’s reward will be the condemnation of hell.
Mat 23:33 Serpents! Offspring of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?
At the bird feeder, the grackles are bullies while the mourning doves are quiet, gentle and companionable.
Some who call themselves Christians are no better than the grackles – bullies. Rather, we should be like a gentle mourning dove – one who displays the fruit of God’s holy spirit.
Gal 5:22,23 But the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control;