Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 25, 1964

Taking A Dog By The Ears

Leslie Diestelkamp

If the dog is small, or if he is docile, one might indeed "take him by the ears" to teach him to bark, or at least to cause his "bark" to develop greater volume, etc. But if the dog is large and especially if he is cross, one would hardly "take him by the ears" at all. And it is evidently this kind of dog that is anticipated in Solomon's words in Proverbs 28:17 when he said, "He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears." The lesson is very obvious. One who injects himself into affairs that do not belong to him is likely to be hurt by the action. It is a very dangerous business.

Yet we have seen, lately, the very opposite extreme demonstrated here in our own good land. People have been known to stand by and refuse to assist one who was being robbed or assaulted. In one case in one of our modern cities, forty or more people — mostly men — stood passively by while a woman was beaten to death. They declined to give heed to her plea for help. No doubt their excuse would have been that it was not their affair.

In religion the same spirit sometimes prevails. Even among good brethren there is a tendency to look with pity upon those who are drifting into sin and error but to decline to approach them in any positive manner regarding their departures. Because they don't want to be called meddlers, some brethren seem to be afraid to grab the dog by the ears even to protect and perhaps save a soul from apostasy, or to prevent digression in a church.

As the term is ordinarily used today I do not mind to be called a meddler. In fact I admit the charge. When a soul is wandering in error and when a church is marching toward apostasy it becomes my duty to meddle in their business, for their welfare is also my business. (James 5:19, 20). Because it is my business ot help them as much as possible, my business may involve me in meddling in their business!

We must, of course diligently try to avoid interference in matters wherein we have no responsibility. Yet we must have the courage to do our best to help any brother or sister in Christ solve even some personal problems that may jeopardize his or her soul, and we must have the fortitude to exert all the influence we can upon any church that may be doubting, drifting, departing or dying. If such action be called meddling, then let it be so called, and let us not be embarrassed or embittered by such descriptions that may be cast at us. In order that they and we may be in heaven at last, we must help people to know and to follow truth. To do this, sometimes it is necessary to ignore the sensitive feelings and the bitter accusations of those who are going astray and of others who are leading the unsuspecting into apostasy.

— 1833 Ivy Lane, Aurora, Illinois