Persnickety people may need a good dose of worm medicine

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 1, 1970

An old hunter had taken his tattered hound to the vet for a checkup. As they sat among the well-groomed house dogs waiting their turn in the exam room, a woman holding a poodle in her lap sneered at the old gentleman.

“Keep your dog away from me,” she scolded. “I feel a flea on my leg.”

“Get over here, Ranger,” the man said to his hound. “That woman has fleas.”

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That old joke got a whole lot funnier to me last week after my daughter Mary, the other journalist in the family, took her old Treeing Walker hound, Giz, to the vet. Giz is 10 years old now. His once handsome red head is now gray with age. He’s got more than his share of scars from years of chasing raccoons. His ears have been tattered by thorns and barbed wire. He has a peculiar walk, the remnant of spending one entire winter paralyzed from the neck down after being bitten by a raccoon that carried some strange virus.

So, there was Mary and Ol’ Giz in Dr. Rudolph Ousley’s office. It was a sight to behold. And, by the way, they couldn’t have been treated any better. No highfalutin folks worried about fleas. Just good people.

Unfortunately, we’ve all met those who feel superior to others – and even to their dogs. The Bible makes clear that our Lord isn’t pleased with that kind of attitude.

“My brothers, show no partiality” (James 2:1-1).

The Book of James says a poor man in shabby clothing should be treated just as well as a rich man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing.

Jesus further simplified things for us, as He often did during his public ministry here on earth.

“A new commandment I give to you,” Jesus said, “that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34).

This world would be such a wonderful place if everyone would follow that commandment from Jesus. Everyone deserves to be treated kindly. But, the fact is, there are rude people in this world who seem to have no understanding of this simple Christian principle.

Perhaps the best way to deal with such folks is to show them as much kindness as we can muster, and hope that it might rub off on them.

We might be tempted to follow the example of the old hunter who put the persnickety woman in her place, but we just need to realize that something may be going on their lives that makes them ill tempered.

Maybe a bad case of worms?

Roger Alford offers words of encouragement to residents of America’s heartland. Reach him at