“Like a dog that returns to its vomit is a fool who reverts to his folly…Like somebody who takes a passing dog by the ears is one who meddles in the quarrel of another.”Proverbs 26:11, 17
No, we’re not going to the dogs. But these two parables are linked by more than dogs. Many of us remember LBJ picking up a beagle puppy by the ears on national television. He never lived that down. And he once made reference to a “dog return(ing) to its vomit.” I guess we can call these the Lyndon Johnson proverbs.
Whatever, each proverb warns Christians against unwise behavior. In the first case it is very personal. Sometimes we can’t kick a bad habit. Many of us can attest to fighting habits, some of which are detrimental to health, others harm our relationships to others. We’ve seen some of these in our journey through Proverbs: gossip, envy, false judgment. Others may be personal, and we lament and pray for those who fight the problems of alcohol, drugs, and, yes, nicotine. Of course we excuse many of our own foolish behaviors! And some people just have to butt in to other’s lives, and we wonder why we get bit! It’s one thing when we are asked for our opinion or insight, but to gratuitously offer “when I was in the hospital” stories can be rather hurtful to our listeners who are bedfast with a health issue!
Wisdom is knowing what is God’s truth; understanding is knowing how to apply it. We need wisdom and understanding in every step of our journey, within ourselves, and with others.
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