I’m continuing my countdown to Valentine’s Day with my favorite Bible verses.
He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears. ~ Proverbs 26:17
I will never forget this verse. It was quoted to me by my church bus driver when I was sixteen years old. I worked on that bus route for about three years as a teenager. At one point during those years, there was a “situation” brewing between some workers on our route. I got involved in the middle of it one bright Sunday morning, thinking I could help. Well….I didn’t exactly help. In fact, I had gotten my feelings hurt! I was lamenting this fact to my bus driver while we waited on the bus for some of the workers. Bro. Jenceson Payte, our driver, was a good friend of our family, and to me, he was kind of like a therapist that didn’t charge a fee. When I finished griping, he looked at me in the rear view mirror and said “Have you ever heard the verse in Proverbs that says “He that meddles with strife that doesn’t belong to him is like he that takes a dog by the ears?” His red hair seemed to make his face red…or maybe he was just mad at me. I knew he wasn’t angry at me, that was just his passion for truth-telling showing. At least that’s what I told myself.
“Yes, I’ve heard that verse, but I don’t know what it means. It sounds so weird. I mean, ‘Taketh a dog by the ears?’ ” I said, crinkling my nose.
“You know what happens when you take a dog by the ears, Valerie?” He asked me.
“You get BIT!” He said emphatically.
The realization of that verse hit me hard that day on the bus. “Way to go, Valerie.” I thought. The Bible, and Jenceson, were exactly right. I had gotten “bit”. I had only wanted to help, but now I had people on both sides of the issue upset with me. They wouldn’t have been if I had stayed out of it. After all, it was really none of my business.
Fast forward to today. There has been more than one instance where I wanted to give my two-cents on an issue, especially when it involved my family members. Like most people, I want to stand up for the one I care about and tell their attackers a thing or two! But, as I go to the computer to fire off that angry e-mail, I remember this verse. I remember sitting on the bus. I remember a red-haired, red-faced bus driver telling me that I’ll get “bit”. I remember the pain of getting bitten once before. And I stop. I decide to let my friend or relative deal with their own strife. I’m going to pray for them and encourage them, but I’m not getting bitten again.
Every time I read Proverbs 26:17, I remember this story, and I thank God for friends who pointed me to the Bible with their lives, and their words.