He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears. –Proverbs 26:17, KJV
Gossiping is pretty bad. We all agree. It causes more harm than helps, which is frequently the intent of the gossiper, though often times it is merely ill-advised but done by those who like drama.
What is just as bad is the person who listens in on conversations and then tries to take over the conversation.
It is true that sometimes a stranger can offer a bit of insight or resolution to a disagreement, but this verse is not about these nice people who politely admit to overhearing and offer help.
No, Proverbs 26:17 is about the person who hears just a little tidbit of a conversation (or argument) and assumes they are the authority. They know all about this issue, and you would not only be wise to listen but they will make sure you do!
And the majority of the time, this person has taken that tidbit completely out of context.
Now matters are worse, and either the people involved are stirred up to more hatred toward each other or this poor fool may feel the wrath of those who just a moment ago were upset with each other.
Moral of the story: mind your own business.
Unless there is a legitimate concern for one or all people involved – like a fist fight about to break out, or they are causing a major disturbance … like in a restaurant … – they can work it out themselves or will find someone to help.
Or you are a masochist who likes being verbally and physically beat up. But then you have even more issues than we are discussing today.
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