When the Crab Mentality Strikes the Church
Born and raised in a small town that is southeast Georgia, I am familiar with the various actions associated with the CRAB MENTALITY (yes, sad but true). While many people have heard of the statement “Like crabs in a bucket” some of you might be wondering “What does that statement mean?” So, let me create a visual for you.
Picture this – a crab is placed in a bucket alone; he climbs out successfully without issue. Then, several crabs are placed in the same bucket together, however, something totally different happens. If a crab attempts to escape, the other crabs bind together to hurt and/or keep the escaping crab in the bucket.
As humans, we often encounter this in our daily lives. For instance, we might strive to grow and empower ourselves spiritually, professionally, or personally and others who are opposed might fight against us to ensure that success does not happen. This type of mentality is born of selfishness, envy, and jealousy.
In Matthew, Jesus tells us four ways we can be a light where there is a crab mentality. “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” — Matthew 5:14-16
When we are selfish, envious, or jealous, we are dishonoring God and dimming our light. As Christians, we must understand that God wants us to share our “Light” and to do this we have to light each other’s lamps, unite hand-in-hand, sound off in a unified voice that is loud and created by more than just one of us.
Crab Mentality in the Bible
In the Bible, we catch a glimpse of the crab mentality when Rebekah gave birth to Jacob and Esau; Jacob reached out his hand to grab his brother’s foot so that he could prevent him from being the firstborn (Genesis 25:26). This is symbolic because it showed that Jacob did not want even his flesh and blood to get ahead of him.
As a child, Esau was favored more than Jacob by their father. Because Esau was skillful in hunting and hard work, he was loved by their father because they shared that commonality as men. Not only that, Esau being the firstborn, was given the birthright and authority to access and manage all things owned by their family. Jacob capitalized on Esau’s hunger and desire for food one day to acquire his brother’s birthright (Genesis 25:33-34).
The Lord told Rebecca while pregnant with Esau and Jacob that she was carrying two nations in her womb (Genesis 25:23). Jacob chose to focus on what he could get from man versus praying and holding on to God’s hand. Then, in connivance with Rebecca, Jacob pulled the wool over his father’s eyes and tricked him into giving Esau’s birthright to him instead (Genesis 27:19-23). This is an example of the Crab Mentality at the highest level – a man who fought against his own father and brother to obtain what his flesh desired versus what God wanted and intended for him and how.
The Crab Mentality Can Only Harm, not Help.
Do you realize that it is this same CRAB MENTALITY that prevents companies, communities, corporations, governments, churches/temples/ministries, and nations from progressing and being successful today?
When we look at the news, we see that many of our government officials are not working in favor of the masses, but instead for self-centered benefits. Sadly, we see these same actions depicted in the church between teammates who are fighting against each other for notoriety or positions instead of working together to do God’s will. Thirdly, we see families fighting against one another and working to prevent progress instead of working together for the greater good. These are all examples of how we are allowing self-centeredness to destroy us as followers of Jesus Christ.
So, What’s the Play Call?
We are children of God. It is important that we work together to bring grace to Him. So, you wonder, what part can we play in eliminating the CRAB MENTALITY that surrounds us?
- Be reminded of What Would Jesus Do (WWJD) – do that!
- Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Instead, move with humility and consider others better than yourself (Philippians 2:3).
- Hold on to God, not man (Psalm 20:7).
- Don’t strive to take someone else’s blessings. Remember that God will give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest when our time comes (Psalm 85:11-12).
- Do unto others as you would have them do unto you (Luke 6:31).
Let’s place our selfish ways aside, place God’s will first, and do not be the crab that holds others down. As Jesus sacrificed His life for us, surely we can place our wants aside in order to help others accomplish their goals. As God’s children, He wants us to be successful and fruitful and He will bless us as we bless others versus trying to hold them back from their God-given purpose.