As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness. Proverbs 26:11Seriously? That's the line my kids use in our house all the time when we say something they think sounds outrageous. And when I first heard this proverb I thought to myself seriously? That's in the Bible. But, it really is telling.
First reflect on the verse. King Solomon is referring to a dog. Now a dog doesn't really think. Their primary concern is making sure their basic needs are met...eating, sleep, etc. And they always sniff around and check things out that ought to be left alone. But most importantly they act on instinct because they lack the high order thinking skills that humans possess. And so when they throw up..they return to check it out rather than leaving it alone.
But we as humans have the ability to examine it from afar. We can think about if it's wise to return to the situation or if it will bring up more harm. We can ask ourselves questions about the situation - can I fix it? Why did this happen? What were my triggers? Who was I with? Where was I?
When we seek to identify why we do something and what exactly happened, we prepare ourselves for the next time that situation or a similar one in the future comes our way. We give ourselves the power to make a better choice.
So as gross as this proverb is - let's learn from it. Just let's do it from a distance.