The Self-Destructive Sting

A honey bee colony has three types of bees associated with it: the queen; the workers (females); the drones (males).  It is the worker bees which sting.  “A honey bee will sting when it perceives a threat to its hive, but when it’s away from the hive foraging, it will rarely sting unless someone steps on it or handles it roughly.  And when it does sting it dies.  A honey bee stinger is made up of two barbed lancets.  When the bee stings, it can’t pull the stinger back out.  It leaves behind not only the stinger, but also part of its digestive tract, plus muscles and nerves.  The massive abdominal rupture is what kills the bee” (  Not all bees or wasps have this problem when stinging, but the honey bee does.

Some people are like the honey bee.  Their attitude and action toward others actually destroy them (physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually).  (1) Some harbor envy and hatred for others in their hearts.  The Bible says, “A sound heart is life to the body, but envy is rottenness to the bones” (Proverbs 14:30).  “Anger rests in the bosom of fools” (Ecclesiastes 7:9).  S.I. McMillen has written, “Man doesn’t ever seem to learn that the high cost of getting even may be toxic goiter, strokes of apoplexy, and fatal heart attacks… The moment I start hating a man, I become his slave.  I can’t enjoy my work any more because he even controls my thoughts.  My resentments produce too many stress hormones in my body and I become fatigued after only a few hours of work.  The work I formerly enjoyed is now drudgery.  Even vacations cease to give me pleasure. It may be a luxury car that I drive along a lake fringed with autumnal beauty of maple, oak, and birch. As far as my experience of pleasure is concerned, I might as well be driving a wagon in mud and rain. The man hounds me wherever I go.  I can’t escape his tyrannical grasp on my mind.  When the waiter serves me porterhouse steak with French fries, asparagus, crisp salad, and strawberry shortcake smothered with ice cream, it might as well be stale bread and water.  My teeth chew the food and I swallow it, but the man I hate will not permit me to enjoy it…The man I hate may be many miles from my bedroom; but more cruel than a slave driver, he whips my thoughts into such a frenzy that my innerspring mattress becomes a rack of torture. The lowest of the serfs can sleep, but not I” (McMillen, None of These Diseases, pp. 68, 72).  “Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a fatted calf with hatred” (Proverbs 15:17).   (2) Some people allow their own words and actions to harm them.  “Hatred stirs up strife.  But love covers all sins” (Proverbs 10:12).  “The wicked is ensnared by the transgression of his own lips” (Proverbs 12:13).  “A soft answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).  “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (Proverbs 18:21).  Be careful before you decide to sting!

Moreover, sometimes the fight is just not worth it.  S.I. McMillen tells of a grizzly bear that tolerated a skunk.  He writes, “There was only one animal the grizzly would allow to eat with him – a skunk.  Of course, the grizzly could have won in any fight with a skunk.  He resented the skunk and yearned to get even with him for his imprudence.  But he didn’t.  Why?  Because he knew that there would be a high cost of getting even” (McMillen, None of These Diseases, pp. 67-68). “An angry man stirs up strife” (Proverbs 29:22). Make sure it is worth it, before you get sprayed!

About Bryan Hodge

I am a minister and missionary to numerous countries around the world.
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