Many a missionary has come back from the foreign field with thrilling stories of the power of the Gospel to change cannibals to Christians. Missionary books abound with like accounts. That kind of transformation in people gives proof of the reality of salvation. How wonderful to think of a man feeding his soul on the Word of God, who once fed his body on the flesh of his fellowman?
Interestingly, Paul speaks of another kind of cannibalism.
The Galatian church had once been a center of dynamic Christianity. Paul, himself, had ministered there. The Gospel had been presented clearly and the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the people had been evident. The love of Christ was an active force in personal relationships. Paul said they had loved him so much that they would have been willing to pluck out their eyes and give them to him to improve his poor vision, if that had been possible.
Sadly, things changed. The church became legalistic and love left. Paul lamented their spiritual poverty.
Observing their bickering and infighting, he warns that if they keep eating away at one another they will eventually consume one another. They had become Christian cannibals.
There is no room for cannibals among Christians. Instead, we are to “…love one another with a pure heart fervently” (I Peter 1:22).
When Christians conquer their spiritual cannibalism, another great missionary story will be told. Those observing real love among the people of God will turn to the Saviour. The church will fulfill its mission at home. And this will enlarge its missionary ministry the world around!