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Monday, December 02, 2013

Grabbing a Dog by the Ears (To My Shame)

The other day I was standing in the teller line at the bank, and I fell into being a busybody.

Here's what happened:

While standing there waiting for my transaction to go through, I noticed that there was a car waiting at the drive-through line. At our branch, the tellers work at the inside counter when there is no one at the window for the drive-through.

I assumed (key word!) that the other teller (not mine, of course!) was supposed to be working the drive-through and judged (key word!) that she shouldn't be chatting with the guy at her station but helping the driver at the window. I could see the driver's face, and he looked frustrated that no one was coming to the window.

Now, at other times, I've noticed that there was someone there, and helped out a teller by pointing out a driver at the teller line and been thanked. (Aren't a helpful guy?)

But this time, the other teller was busy talking with another customer. However, I was listening to their conversation (yikes!), and I judged (key word!) that what they were talking about wasn't as important as the frustrated guy at the drive-through window. And I judged (key word!) that their transaction was taking too long.

Now, understand, I'm not the manager at the bank. I'm just a customer at the counter.

But at that moment, I took it upon myself to point at the window and tell the other teller (not mine of course!), "Hey, you have a customer!"

Oops. I just grabbed a dog by the ears.

"Like one who seizes a dog by the ears is a passer-by who meddles in a quarrel not his own." (Proverbs 26:17)

All things considered, they took it well. The other customer (a friend of mine), said, "What am I? Chopped liver?" and they laughed. The teller said, "Thanks, Pastor Matt, I'll check on them in a moment."

But, right then, I realized that I was not being helpful; I was being a busybody.  The teller was doing her job well, the customer at the counter was being cared for, the customer at the drive-through would be cared for (and apologized to for the wait, if appropriate), and I had nothing to do with it. It was not my business.

This is a very tame example of Proverbs 26:17. I'm thankful that I hadn't caught a barking, biting, or rabid dog. There have been other times when I've done much worse (with real conflicts!). But my cheeks are still burning as I recount this story today, because I'm the guy who wrote the book on resisting gossip. I'm supposed to know better and to not fall into the kind of judgmentalism that issues into this kind of busybody activity.

However, I'm still prone to grabbing dogs' ears and need to continue to grow in vigilance in guarding my heart.

How about you? Is there an area in life where you are sticking your nose into someone else's business and are risking a bark or bite?

[Image courtesy of sue_r_b at RGB Stock Photos]

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