My thoughts (Melody Merida ):
One day early in my pastoral career I made the mistake of getting involved in a disagreement between two church members. Of course, at the time I thought I was doing the right thing to help them work out their differences and come to an agreeable resolution. What I actually did was interfere so that things between them escalated and I was seen, perhaps rightly so, as the one who stuck her nose in where it didn’t belong. In the end, their friendship completely fell apart and one of them temporarily left the church because she felt I had stepped where I was not invited to step.
This is the experience that came to mind when I read verse 17. It probably would have been better had I simply taken a passing dog by the ears and taken my chances on being bitten. The truth is that my interference was emotionally worse for those two individuals than if they had been bitten. It was a foolish decision to interject in their disagreement; but I assure you that I did so with the best intentions.
So, when is it wise to try to mediate between two people and when is it foolish to intervene?
From this example I learned that a good rule of thumb is not to intervene unless asked to do so or if someone is getting hurt. Outside of these circumstances it may just be meddling, even though our natural inclination is to jump in with both feet because we think we can fix the situation. Remember the scripture for today and remind yourself that only the fool meddles out of a sense of pride and it is as wise as inviting a dog bite. Personal experience has taught me that often the loving, wise thing to do is to stay out of the drama and give people the space to work out their own solutions.
Thought for the day: Before getting in the middle of a quarrel, take some time to pray for God’s wisdom to know if your involvement will bring real healing or just more hurt.
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.