Solomon must have had a few dogs running around his palace, for he seemed to know their behavior pretty well when he wrote, “Whoever meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a passing dog by the ears.” (Proverbs 26:17)
Over the years, we have had two dogs; two very large, not-so-bright mutts that somehow managed to take over the house. For the most part they have been mild-mannered and obedient critters. But, as I read the proverb above, I tried to picture myself picking either of them up by the ears. As their long-time owner, they may let me try, but I don’t think it could be done without someone getting hurt in the process. And while they’re meek with me, let a stranger attempt to grab my dogs’ ears and watch out!
Meddling in someone else’s problems, injecting ourselves into others’ disputes, or involving ourselves in the affairs of others just isn’t smart. In fact, Solomon says, it’s just about as wise as grabbing a stray dog by his ears – it’s not going to help and someone is gonna get hurt.
For years, I had only considered the possible harm to the one interfering – they were likely to get bitten. Certainly, that warning applies. However, we also have to consider the possible harm to those whose business we’re meddling in. The ears of a dog are tender and paper thin. They bleed easily, and once the bleeding starts, dogs will shake their heads vigorously in an effort to make it stop, spraying blood everywhere. In other words, meddling is potentially painful and messy – for everyone.
If those involved are your friends, there may be a time and place down the road for you to offer your assistance, but during the heat of the moment is not likely it. If they want or need your help, they will ask. Until then, for your sake, and theirs, mind your own business – and leave those dog ears alone! –Dave
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