"Beware of the dog!"
(John Angell James, "Christian Fellowship" 1822)
"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient,
bearing with one another in love." Ephes. 4:2.
There are some people whose feelings are like dry straw
--kindled into a blaze in a moment, by the least spark
which has been purposely or accidentally thrown upon it.
A word, or a look--is in some cases quite enough to be
considered a very serious injury! It is a common thing
for such people to excuse themselves on the ground that
'their feelings are so delicate'--that they are offended by
the least touch! This is a humiliating confession, for it is
acknowledging that, instead of being like the oak of the
forest, which laughs at the tempest, and is unmoved by
the tread of the wild boar--they resemble the sensitive
plant, a little squeamish shrub, which trembles before the
breeze, and shrivels and contracts beneath the pressure
of a tiny insect!
Delicate feelings!! In plain English, this means that they
are petulant, irritable and peevish! I would like to have a
sign hung around the neck of such people--and it would
be this, "Beware of the dog!"
We should never allow ourselves to be offended, until,
at least, we are sure that offense was intended; and
this is really not so often as we are apt to conclude.
Had we but patience to wait, or humility to inquire, we
would find that many hurtful things were done by mistake,
which we are prone to attribute to design. How often do
we violate that love which thinks no evil, and which
imperatively demands of us to attribute a good motive
to another's conduct--until a bad motive is proved!
Let us then deliberately determine, that, by God's grace,
we will not be easily offended. If such a resolution were
generally made and kept, offenses would cease. Let us
first ascertain whether offense was intended, before we
allow the least emotion of anger to be indulged. And
even then, when we have proved that the offense was
committed on purpose, let us next ask ourselves whether
it is necessary to notice it. What wise man will think it
worth while, when an insect has stung him, to pursue it
all day, in order to punish the aggressor?