Like a man who seizes a wild dog by the ears, so is anyone who walks by and meddles in someone else’s argument. Proverbs 26:17 (VOICE)
Before becoming a pastor, I used to work in emergency rescue, and I remember hearing an interesting story that highlights the lesson in today’s verse well.
Two rescue workers were called out to respond to a domestic dispute call. Because the police hadn’t yet arrived when they got there, they found themselves in a tricky situation. The dispute had become physical, so they had a choice: wait for the police to arrive or stop the fight themselves. Fearing for the wife’s safety, they chose to pin the man to the ground, thinking she would be relieved. To their surprise, they got a different response. Both of them received nasty bumps on the head from being hit by a frying pan—by the wife!
This story reminds me of today’s proverb, which shares another great piece of advice in this series we’ve been on about Proverbs’ wisdom for our relationships. It warns against getting involved in others’ arguments. I’m not saying that these paramedics were wrong to do what they did, but it’s an interesting lesson. When you put yourself in the middle of an argument, be prepared for anger to come at you from both parties!
Getting involved in others’ arguments is risky, just as it is to grab a stray dog by the ears. You may need to if you suspect that someone is being bullied or abused, but if it’s just a disagreement or a personality clash, getting involved may do more harm than good. In fact, it may even cost you a friendship. If two of your friends are fighting, it’s best to stay out of it if possible.