A Good Way to Lose a Hand!
Basket of Figs, October, 2005
“He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears.” (Pr 26:17)
The Bible says that we are not to be meddlers in other people’s affairs. “It is an honor for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling.” (Pr 20:3 AV)
God has not sent Christians into the world to be Little Miss Fixits. Most of us have enough to do to keep our ship above water without involving ourselves in meddling with others.
This is not to mean that we do not let our light shine. That is another matter and involves the mercy and grace of God in Jesus Christ. It is easy to get that mixed up with other things like tofu being better for you than red meat. In fact, Jesus said that the children of the world are often wiser in their generations than the children of light. It might be good for us to know what that means.
It might be a rather dangerous thing to take a dog by the ear. One of my mother’s brothers lived as a mountain man in Southern Oregon. He had a pack of hounds. I suspect that it would not have been a good idea to grab one of them by the ear. I know my uncle didn’t. He still had both hands when he passed away some years ago.
A person shouldn’t boast in his “sufferings” if they come because of meddling. “But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or [as] an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.” (1Pe 4:15 AV) It is a good thing to suffer for Christ’s sake, but that is not to be confused with criminal misconduct in interfering with the lives of others. It is worthy to note that being a busybody is in the list with murder, thievery, and other evil.
Jesus set us a good example as always. One time someone asked him, “Master, speak to my bother that he divide the inheritance with me.”
“Who made me a ruler and divider over you?” [Luke 12:13,14], was the response of the Lord. He did not come to establish civil government. There were and are many proper courts that lawsuits could be initiated to settle such matters.
If Jesus knew what the scope and limits of His mission was, It is good to remind ministers, elders, deacons, and schoolteachers that they are not to be meddlers in other people’s affairs. Just as women are reminded not to be busybodies and run from house to house, neither is anyone else. One of the problems of the modern day is that regular people are busy going to work, taking care of their families, repairing their houses and mowing their lawns. Public service is left to people who don’t have any real work to do and so they become meddlers in peoples’ affairs. They become protectors of bugs, grasses, and owls. They do this from their penthouses in New York City or some other blue state, of course.
Matters involving crimes against the church or that would disrupt the order and peace of the church are legitimate causes for ministers, elders, and deacons. Most Americans see the reason for these things, but they will tell the bishop to butt out if he becomes too intrusive. In fact, they may tell him to butt out because he is bishop. We fought a War for Independence because of this.
As far as school teachers go, most of us endured “school-marms” in school. Do they still have these? We were told to sit down, be still, and what to do. I, for one, got a good grade school education, for which I am grateful for people like Mrs. Burgess, Mrs. Thornton, and Mrs. Aftring. But I gladly left them in grade school and don’t need them any more to tell me to sit down, be still, and what to do every day. A grown up won’t tolerate it.
One of the complaints of the American colonies against King George III was this statement in the Declaration of Independence: “He hath sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.”
I suspect it would be a good idea to post Proverbs 26:17 in the halls of Congress and in the state legislatures and perhaps in some synods. Maybe we could slip it into Congress while they are arguing about the Ten Commandments.