When to Raise a Stink

Retold by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
Original Author Unknown

One summer night a man was awakened by scratching on his tent floor. In the moonlight coming through the tent door, the man could see all too plainly that his visitor was a skunk.

Lying within arm’s reach was a slingshot and a handful of marbles that he had been using in target practice with his boys. It would have been a simple matter to dispatch that skunk then and there. He possessed the skill, had the equipment, and it was close range! But on second thought, the man laid still. The man thought, “Suppose I do shoot and manage to kill him instantly? In the act of dying he’ll ruin my clothes, my tent, my bedding and make me ill for days!

In a few minutes, Mr. Skunk walked slowly out of the tent and off to new adventures. The man quietly reached up and secured the tent door more firmly and returned to his slumbers, peacefully knowing he had not created a stink in an attempt to defend himself.

It isn’t always wise, even though you can, to answer every challenge, or accept every dare thrown your way. Sometimes it is wiser to leave some things alone.

For Further Study

Verses to Consider

  • Psalms 39:1-3
  • Proverbs 9:7-8
  • Proverbs 15:12
  • Proverbs 23:9
  • Proverbs 24:11
  • Proverbs 31:8-9
  • Ecclesiastes 3:7
  • Isaiah 36:13-21
  • Amos 5:12-13
  • Micah 7:5-7
  • Matthew 5:11-12
  • Matthew 5:38-42
  • Matthew 7:6
  • Matthew 27:12-14
  • Acts 4:13-20
  • Acts 13:45-46
  • Romans 12:17-21
  • Galatians 2:11-14
  • Ephesians 5:15
  • I Peter 4:14-16

Questions to Ponder

  1. Why was it better to wait for the skunk to leave on its own?
  2. If the animal was a snake or a rat, would that change the situation? Why?
  3. Suppose a bully knocked your books to the floor. Would it be better to do something or wait quietly?
  4. Suppose a bully was hitting a child. Would it be better to do something or wait quietly?
  5. How can kindness to someone who is mean to you change the situation?
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