Living Apostolic in San Antonio

The Official Blog of Alamo City Apostolic Church

Of Dogs and Ears

Anybody who has had dogs knows their ears are very sensitive.

Gnats love to swarm around dogs’ ears. Many dogs are prone to ear infections, which can cause their ears to be very painful to the touch. And the ears are also very important tactically; when hunting dogs attack a hog, they go for its ears. They can hold the hog helpless while the hunter dispatches it.

I don’t know the mind of a dog, but these things may be some of the reasons why dogs are so touchy about their ears.

Dogs also have teeth. They are usually quite good at using them. Most domesticated dogs are pretty good at controlling their natural instinct to bite…otherwise we wouldn’t keep them as pets. But a dog with sore ears is naturally irritable. The only problem is, you don’t always know which dog has sore ears. It’s not always visible from the outside.

And for some strange reason, it’s in human nature to pull dogs’ ears. The old adage that warns us to “let sleeping dogs lie” contains quite a bit of wisdom. Tug on a sleeping dog’s ears and you just might have the pattern of a dog’s fangs tattooed permanently into your arm.

What is it in our nature that pushes us to wake sleeping dogs up…to tug at their ears when they are peacefully minding their own business? It’s a perverse desire to be entertained by someone or something else’s discomfort. Because of our own boredom, we try to cause others discomfort so we can be entertained by their reactions.

Even though David’s brother mistook his motivations, his observation of human nature would have been justifiable in many cases: “I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle.”

There are things that are done just to “stir the pot.” But it’s a dangerous game. You never know the pain that may lie just beneath the surface in our brother or sister. Their calm demeanor may hide the fact that they are in a bitter struggle or have been deeply wounded. All they are looking for is a place to laugh a little, fellowship…and heal.

Then somebody, for no other reason than for their own perverse entertainment, reaches over and grabs their ears. And then we wonder why there is snapping and snarling…and there are smug intimations that some people just need to “chill out.”

Proverbs 26:17 is divine wisdom: “He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears.”

I have some pretty impressive scars on my arm from picking a fight with a dog when I was a kid. God help me to learn from those scars and to navigate among my brothers and sisters with respect.

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March 13, 2012 - Posted by | Reflections

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