17 Like somebody who takes a passing dog by the ears is one who meddles in the quarrel of another.
20 For lack of wood the fire goes out,
and where there is no whisperer, quarrelling ceases.
21 As charcoal is to hot embers and wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome person for kindling strife.
22 The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body.
As a dog owner when I tripped over these words in the Book of Proverbs, that book of Biblical wisdom, I was stopped in my tracks. I could not recall ever having read these verses before, but having read them one morning, I found myself returning to them repeatedly, like a dog going back to a favoured chew toy!
In Chapter 58 of the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, the writer speaks of the possibility of being guided continually by the Lord, of being a watered garden – a spring with waters that never fail – but insists that the condition for this happening is the taking away from our midst the pointing finger that accuses our brother or sister, saying, “It’s all your fault!” or “Look what you have done’ or “You are a disgrace to us all.”
If we attend to ourselves, are demanding of obedience from ourselves, if we remove the plank from our eye, then, should we notice the splinter in the eye of our brother or sister at all, we will willingly help him/her remove it – at their request – and without needing to see it through a magnifying glass.
So here is my request – the next time you see me with the ears of a passing dog, tell me to stop!