walk in the word
Whoever meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a passing dog by the ears. —proverbs 26:17
Sometimes we miss the point until we get the picture! Read that proverb again, but this time, think about the scariest dog you’ve ever seen. Imagine one of those canine characters who looks at you like you’re dessert. Listen for that soft, menacing growl in the background that makes your hair stand on end (even if you don’t have much)! That’s the dog that gives this proverb its bite. Because our dog? No threat there! You could carry our dog around by the ears. I would never do that. But you could.
Dogs, in the ancient world, were wild packs of animals. Think pit-bull or Doberman. Here’s the point: Mind your own business. Do you want to end relational conflict? Make sure it’s your business. And if it isn’t? Mind your own business.
Proverbs 26:17, “Whoever meddles in a quarrel not his own . . .” “I think I’m going to get between my sister and my dad.” Really!? Really!? Do you really want to be “ . . . like one who takes a passing dog by the ears?” The dog was content to run by you. You didn’t really have a problem. But for some strange reason, you thought, “I think I’ll reach out and grab that dog by the ears.” Now you have a problem. It’s a sobering picture, isn’t it? Mind your own business. The key here, of course, is if it’s not your own business, if it doesn’t concern you. Other people’s families, a parent with half the story, a child or sibling overstepping their bounds, these are off limits. . .when it’s not your business. How much negative conflict could be avoided in our extended families if we just minded our own business?
If it’s not our business but we see it, what should we do? Here’s a starting point: be serious about praying for that situation. It might not be our business, but everybody’s business is God’s business. Too often we enter a quarrel or conflict because we think we can fix it instead of inviting God to work in His ways in that situation. Leave it in God’s hands. You’ll end up with less dog bites!
Prayer: Almighty Father, I long to be compassionate, obedient, and engaged in the relationships in my life. But I don’t want to step where I don’t belong. Thank You for reminding me that You are my court of appeal and I don’t have to solve other people’s problems. I can place them in Your hands. Please give me also the wisdom to see when things are my business and not turn away from places where You want to work in my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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