What to do if barking dogs bite

Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes.  Proverbs 26:4-5

What should a person do when a barking dog following your caravan decides to attack and bite you?  In my previous post “The dogs bark but the caravan moves on” I talked about the wisdom in ignoring negative input once you’ve made a decision and are pressing on. 

In some rare occasions, one or more of those opposing your decision may seek to stop and/or do harm to you nonetheless.  What do you do then?

Biting dogs are dangerous.  In all my years of running and being chased by dogs, I have only been bitten once.  It happened to be a dog I had decided to ignore.  I learned the hard way that in a one-on-one situation with a ferocious dog in hot pursuit, it is critical to take assertive action.  Dog’s can sense if you are afraid and intimidated by them and will press their attack accordingly.

But I have learned two ways to quell the fear in me while putting the fear of God in a dog.  It must go back to the cave man days, but stopping and reaching to the ground as if to pick up a rock will usually stop a dog in its tracks.  The threat of having a stone thrown at them is so intimidating to the dog that he will invariably back off.  If that doesn’t work I resort to my authority in Christ.  Taking my stand and pointing my finger at the dog, I command with a loud authoritative voice, “In the mighty name of Jesus Christ, back off!”  That has never failed to work.

Jesus faced fierce opposition from the religious leaders, the biting dogs of His day.  They were continually following Him and barking at everything He did.  They tried to trap Him in His teaching, were infuriated when he healed a blind man on the Sabbath and hatched a plot to kill him when He raised Lazarus from the dead.

Jesus is the quintessential example of how to handle threatening opposition.  His approach was more by the Spirit than by the book.  Proverbs 26:4-5 quoted above clearly indicates how important it is to have Spirit given wisdom in deciding how to deal with opposition.   Jesus obviously had that wisdom because He understood the nature and intent of those who were opposing Him.

He was very aggressive in dealing with those religious leaders.  When they sought to trap Him in His words He challenged them right to their faces and called them hypocrites and even worse.  (Matthew 22:18)  And He made a point of warning His disciples and the crowds that followed Him about them.  He labeled them for what they were: blind guides and whitewashed tombs. (Matthew 23:16, 27)

The Apostle Paul did the same thing with the biting dogs of his day.  He was not reticent to confront trouble makers and those who sought to wreck havoc in the church.  And he challenged his readers to do the same.  (Romans 16:17 & 1 Timothy 1:20)

It therefore is clear that when a barking dog becomes a biting dog, it is wise not to ignore them.  For your protection and the well-being of others who may be involved, it is imperative to answer them in a manner befitting their intent, as directed by the Holy Spirit. 

Do you have any further thoughts on barking and biting dogs?  What have you learned that might be helpful for others?

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2 thoughts on “What to do if barking dogs bite”

  1. The part about bending over and pretending to pick up a stone to scare away the dogs made me think of Jesus writing in the dirt when they brought the woman caught in adultery to him…

  2. Barking dogs that bite and those with stormy agendas generally do not go for the Alpha Dog immediately; they begin their charge for supremecy by first intimidating the other members of the pack. They test the waters little by little, going for the weaker members of the pack first, until they have them marching in accord with their own personal growls. This allows them to establish their reputation as an acceptable rival for the seat of power. Why do I say this? I say it in order to make this point. The Pharisees and Saduccees of Jesus’ time were in fact jealous and fearful of the influence and sway that Christ had acquired with the people. Their attacks upon him were largely their attempt to discredit him, but they could not – because he spoke the truth, he was the son of God, he lived a spotless life. Scripture speaks about a good reputation being more important than great riches. It is a thing to be prized and protected. A man’s reputation in ancient times often made the difference between him being a successful human being and a dismal failure – whatever the enterprise. It is no less important today. Every Christian should guard closely his reputation – be ye Holy for I am holy – because barking dogs and biting ones often attack with the purpose of destroying one’s reputation. Sadly, we have only to open a newspaper to see villanous attacks made daily upon the reputations of others. We must therefore walk carefully and with wisdom knowing that the dogs are watching even if they aren’t barking.

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