Saturday, May 28, 2011

Grabbing a Passing Dog by the Ears

“Whoever meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who
takes a passing dog by the ears.”
Proverbs 17:17

Once we were visiting someone very dear to us. My husband’s mom and dad were there also, and we entered into a conversation about television. We didn’t have one, for obvious reasons to us, and we were discussing it with Mom. She felt that we were withholding a real pleasure from the children. [After all, she was their grandmother!] Being the feisty sort of family that my husband’s side is, they were quite intense in their own defense, both with pretty good arguments.

Until another family member entered the fray it was promising to end on a friendly note. But the moment the third person, who had heard very little of the conversation, threw his opinion into it, things got red hot. So hot, in fact, that my husband gathered up his little crew and left. On the way out, Dad, always the peacemaker, said, “You are right, you know.”

Sweet Dad

But that didn’t do anything to quiet the storm. Someone had grabbed a passing dog by the ears!

That part of the verse has a few implications:

First, the dog was “passing by.” He was likely an unknown or stray dog.

My husband’s argument with his mom was unknown by the third party. He had no idea how the conversation had begun or continued. It was just “passing by” his ears.

Second, the dog was grabbed in a very vulnerable spot.

This person may as well have grabbed my husband by the ears. Not having a television at the time was a real conviction on our part, not just a preference. The comments hurt!

Third, the person who grabbed that dog by the ears most likely got bitten.

My husband bit hard and we left. [Not literally, but he admits that his response may have been a little harsh. This was many years ago.]

I can joyfully say that all is well, our relationship with this person is secure, and we have all but forgotten it. [Of course I haven’t forgotten it; I’m writing about it!]

The moral of the story?

Don’t grab a passing dog by the ears,
don’t meddle in a quarrel not your own!
You might get bitten,
and the ending may not be as good as this one was.

As we mind our own business [in a good way!],


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