But if you bite and devour one another [in partisan strife], be careful that you [and your whole fellowship] are not consumed by one another.  Galatians 5:15

Understanding how seemingly good people turn and inact abusive behavior. People can become like wild dogs who often kill animals they do not intend to eat, and often kill more animals than they need to for food alone. When people learn to bite one other with abusive words, swearing, name-calling, and get away with it, they will take on this persona of dominance leading to further destructive behaviour. In this sermon we will be seeking the Biblical antidote.

Whenever we lose Christ, we lose the highest form of our humanity and fall prey to our ‘animal’ nature as depicted by the tempter taking the form of a snake in the Genesis narrative. The highest achievement of mankind is not found in protests, violence, hatred or racism, but in takings hands, uniting, serving others and building together. You cannot correct one evil with another form of the same evil. Hatred breeds only more hatred. When humanity falls into the trap of dehumanization, deindividuation, bystander apathy and inaction towards another human being, humanity becomes evil. The history of man is an account of humankind’s vacillation between a Christ-centred live-giving ethic and opposing dark satanic actions that kill and destroy. No people or ethnic group has ever escaped the dark side of their beings, until they submit to His Lordship. Most wars have begun as a result of mis-information and propaganda alienating people from another, and creating a face that people are willing to kill and die for. Wars begun because of sufficient distance and alienation from the true face of the enemy. This is why Jesus’ instruction to love our enemies was so powerful, yet extremely difficult. A set of dynamic psychological processes is outlined that can induce good people to do evil, among them deindividuation, obedience to authority, passivity in the face of threats, self-justification, and rationalisation. Dehumanisation is one of the central processes in the transformation of ordinary, normal people into indifferent or even wanton perpetrators of evil. Dehumanisation is like a cortical cataract that clouds one’s thinking and fosters the perception that other people are less than human. It makes some people come to see those others as enemies deserving of torment, torture, and annihilation. The Lucifer Effect – How good people turn evil by Phillip Zimbardo

Methods of abuse:

Distance: Us vs them. “An offence can only exist in the present of a lie.” When we give up real face to face, heart to heart communication and connection we begin to distance ourself from someone. No communication leads to presumption.

Rationalising: Entitlement, justification, propaganda. 2 Cor 10:4-6 No one calls for justice, Nor does any plead for truth. They trust in empty words and speak lies; They conceive evil and bring forth iniquity. Isaiah 59:4

Dehumanisation: Objectifying, moralising.

Demonisation: Damnation, Judgement, demonising, abandonment.

Deindividuation: The loss of self-awareness, this is not who I am. decreased self-evaluation. Violent crowds, lynch mobs. Blind obedience. Loss of personal responsibility. Conformity. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load. Gal 6:2-5

Enactment: Acting, impersonation, portrayal. Warpaint, Differentiate clothing, helmets, hats, war-masks. One of the techniques of war is to paint faces, so that the warrior become unrecognisable and intimate their enemies, and thus more prone to act contrary to their conscience.

Groupshift is a phenomenon in which the initial positions of individual members of a group are exaggerated toward a more extreme position

Authorisation: Pride. Rebellion: And those who stood by said, “Do you revile God’s high priest?” Then Paul said, “I did not know, brethren, that he was the high priest; for it is written, You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’ ” Acts 23:4-5; Ex. 22:28; Eccl. 10:20; 2 Pet. 2:10Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. Tit 3:1

Falseness: Do not take me away with the wicked And with the workers of iniquity, Who speak peace to their neighbors, But evil is in their hearts. Ps 28:3

Tone of voice: For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another! Gal 5:14-15 “And the Lord heard the sound of your words, and was angry, and took an oath, saying, Surely not one of these men of this evil generation shall see that good land of which I swore to give to your fathers, Deut 1:23-35

It is matter of the heart

For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Mat 12:34 Be angry [or stand in awe] and sin not; commune with your own hearts upon your beds and be silent (sorry for the things you say in your hearts). Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]! Ps 4:4 Ampl Eph. 4:26.


The pride of your heart has deceived you, You who dwell in the clefts of the rock, Whose habitation is high; You who say in your heart, ‘Who will bring me down to the ground?’Obadiah 1:3 Now therefore hear this, you lover of pleasures, who sit securely, who say in your heart, “I am, and there is no one besides me.” Isaiah 47:8


  1. Show Sincere interest in people – Face to Face – Connecting spirit to spirit.
  2. Narrative Coaching – Story Clinics. Belief therapy – Robust, honest, reasonable debate to discover truth, and solutions. Narrative Coaching. Story Clinics.
  3. Conflict Management Courses
  4. Seek the common good. Intrinsic Worth. Be a blessing. Overcome Evil with Doing Good. A movement implementing some of the understanding of humiliation has already begun. It’s called ERD – empathy, respect, dignity. It can be reached on the ERD Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/empathyrespectdignity/

Praat saam