Within 10 minutes of setting out the Japanese Beetle Trap, there were scores of the “tiny terrors” flying around it. Two days later, the bottom of the plastic bag is beginning to sag from the critters that got ensnared. The snare really is irresistible! I hope that my roses will begin to recover from the damage done to the leaves by the Beetles’ relentless nibbling.
It’s gotten me to thinking about the proverb, “you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar,” attributed to Benjamin Franklin. He actually said, “a spoonful of honey will catch more flies than a gallon of vinegar.” I confess that I did a search in the Bible first before discovering that Franklin, not a Biblical writer, put that phrase together. It is possible that the well-read Franklin, got the idea from scripture. Proverbs puts honey and attraction and/or seduction to dangerous things together several times. Japanese Beetles fall into that kind of seductive trap. There’s a war out there for my roses, so score one for me, but it sure is hard on those beetles. Hardness might work in my battle with bugs, but it sure isn’t working in our combative public discourse.
Another image of honey also occurs in the book of Proverbs. “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body” (Proverbs 16:24). Put that together with Proverbs 15:1 “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
I was in a discussion with some friends, and as so often happens these days, the conversation turned to our angst that inflammatory rhetoric that so quickly can get under our skin, and spill out into the world. That is where a few deep breaths, and a reminder of Paul’s words in Romans 15:1-6 can help, “Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, ‘How can I help?’ That’s exactly what Jesus did. He didn’t make it easy for himself by avoiding people’s troubles, but waded right in and helped out. ‘I took on the troubles of the troubled,’ is the way Scripture puts it,” (The Message Translation).
Jesus, Word Made Flesh, gift us with pleasant words and soft answers to take on the troubles of the troubled. ~ Anne