17 Like one who grabs a stray dog by the ears
is someone who rushes into a quarrel not their own.
18 Like a maniac shooting
flaming arrows of death
19 is one who deceives their neighbor
and says, “I was only joking!”
When someone you know is involved in a conflict, it is tempting to sympathize with them and take their side. But the more people interfere the more the conflict grows, often well beyond the scope of the original dispute. Those who grab a stray dog by the ears make themselves an enemy, and the same is true for those who meddle in other people’s fights. Instead of vilifying your friend’s opponent, it is wise to encourage them towards reconciliation, which is in the best interest of everyone involved.
“Like a maniac shooting flaming arrows of death is one who deceives their neighbor and says ‘I was only joking!’” Reckless humor can be as dangerous as negligent shooting, igniting a firestorm of destruction and rage. We must be careful that our humor does not cross the line of cruelty, causing damage that cannot be undone. Consider this before you speak: your words will not judged not by your intent, but by their effect.