You’d never know it now, but when my second son Andrew was little, he was an aggressive little guy. His older sibling, Billy, was just the opposite. So whenever the two got into a heated confrontation over something Bill usually yielded to Andrew’s aggression. I guess in his mind, it wasn’t worth the battle.
Sometimes however, young Billy would stand his grand. Whenever that happened Andrew tended to resort to his weapons of mass destruction, the teeth. Yeah, Andrew tended to bite.
If Billy had the cookie monster delivery truck and Andrew wanted it, you could be pretty sure the teeth marks were coming. We would hear the argument brewing and then Billy would let out this blood-curdling scream and we knew.
To his credit, if little Andrew bit Billy and Billy was out of earshot then Andrew would come and tell on himself. “Biwwy hurt, Biwwy hurt! Come see . . . Biwwy hurt!”
“Why’s he hurt Andrew?”
Andrew would get the saddest most pitiful face, “I bite him!”
It was almost comical, as if the little two year old hitman was saying, “I really didn’t want to have to do it but he left me with no choice. So I did what must be done. I bite him.”
Amy and I tried everything to get Andrew to quit biting. We reasoned with him. “Andrew, biting hurts Billy. NO! NO! Don’t bite. Biting is not nice.”
That didn’t work.
So we sent him to bed early. “You go sit in the bed and think about how you hurt Billy.”
No luck. The cannibalism continued.
So we spanked him. Still, no luck.
Nothing seemed to work.
Billy was starting to look as if he’d lost a fight with a small but tenacious terrier.
Amy had had enough! One day when Billy came blood-curdling-screaming down the hall. The little carnivore had taken another bite out of his brother. When Andrew stepped out of the room with a toy in his hand and that, “I’m sorry but I had to do it,” look on his face Amy decided to take drastic action.
“Did you bite your brother?” she demanded.
“Then I’m going to bite you!”
With that Amy rolled up his little sleeve and moved to bite him on the arm! I wish we’d have taken a picture of Andrew’s face. First shock. Then pain. Then tears. The betrayal was palpable. “MY own mother bit me!”
Amy didn’t stop there. “You bite anybody again,” she scolded, “and I’m going to bite you again. HARD!”
When nothing else would do the trick getting bit for biting seemed to do it. I’m not sure why. Maybe for the first time young Andrew connected the dots between how it felt to be bitten and what he was doing in his biting. Maybe it was just too traumatic to have your own mother bite you. I don’t know. All I know is that the biting stopped.
I’ve thought about this a lot since Amy taught Andrew and me that profound lesson. Sometimes the most effective REMEDY FOR BITING IS GETTING BIT.
Suddenly much of what God did with people throughout the Bible comes into focus. God often used the strategy of allowing biters to get bit.
Galatians 6:7 explained it like this, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” In other words you get back what you give out.
Take a minute and think about this. Have you been getting bit lately? Maybe God is trying to tell you to stop biting.