Proverbs 26:17-19 – Beware the busybodies!

grabbing a dogI am often fascinated by the simplicity and timelessness of Solomon’s proverbs and Proverbs 26:17 is a classic!

Proverbs 26:17“He that passeth by [pass over; provokes; alienates], and meddleth [pass over; provokes; alienates] with strife [controversy; lawsuit; dispute] belonging not to him, is like one that taketh [restrains; catch; seize] a dog [fierce, hungry dog] by the ears.”

Let’s get honest– I’ve known a lot of people more adapt at giving advise to others than they were at accepting counsel and managing their own lives and affairs!  Those types stir up a lot more problems than they ever solve.  They are what Paul described as “busybodies” in 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12—church members who were slackers in dealing with their own problems, but experts when it came to sowing discord and undermining the authority of their spiritual leaders.  [By the way, have you ever noticed the ones with a quick word of advice fail to swallow their own medicine (i.e. counsel – 2 Thess. 3:14-15)?]bite

Paul addressed the same sin in the church at Ephesus among the younger women, describing them as idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not” (1 Timothy 5:13).  At the risk of being misunderstood, I have seen too many “Ladies’ Bible Studies” spiral down into a hotbed of gossip, discontentment and outright rebellion!

Beware busybodies: You will invariably suffer the fate of one foolish enough to grab a fierce dog by its ears—your sin will come back to bite!

Permit me the liberty of addressing two more proverbs before I close.

ventingProverbs 26:18-19 – “As a mad [rabid; insane] man who casteth [throw; shoot; aim; direct] firebrands [burning arrow], arrows [spear; dart implying a wound], and death, 19 So is the man that deceiveth [beguiles; betrays] his neighbor [companion; friend], and saith, Am not I in sport? [play; laugh; mock]

“I’m sorry… I was just kidding… I didn’t mean anything by it!”  And so it goes with a mad, rabid temper, angry spirited man.  He vents his anger, threatens and when exposed, makes light of his sin.  He dismisses the grievous scars left by his malicious words and actions, suggesting it were all said in jest.  He did not mean it.

A word of advice: Don’t believe it!  The Lord taught His disciples a different lesson regarding the words that proceed from a man’s mouth.

Matthew 15:18-20 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth heart and mouthfrom the heart; and they defile the man. 19  For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: 20  These are the things which defile a man…”