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Paul Hayden

A Strategy You Know, But Don’t Know

June 7, 2021

Have you ever heard of the Doberman Pinscher strategy? You have seen it in operation but have not seen what caused it. Let’s say someone has two Doberman Pinschers guarding his house against robbers. If you are the robber, all you must do is throw a piece of steak into the yard, and while the Dobermans fight over steak, you walk right into the house and rob it. (Of course, you better have another steak ready for them to fight over so you can get back out of the house!) 

The core value of most Doberman Pinschers is: 'Me hungry...forget friend...steak takes precedent over guarding house.' (I wrote this “Tarzan style” because maybe one of the Doberman Pinchers' names was Tarzan).  

That's quite an effective way or strategy of robbing a guarded house. OK, I know some dog trainers out there are not agreeing with me, but you get the idea. We people fall victim to the Doberman pinscher strategy almost every time. We tend to lose our focus on the main objective when something closer and more alluring comes our way.

Let me share with you an example of the Doberman Pincher strategy working in real life. The apostle Paul was in an exceedingly difficult situation. He was on trial for his faith before the leaders of his faith. The accusers were two groups of religious people - the Sadducees and Pharisees. Each of these groups was trying to accuse Paul of wrongdoing. But while they were on the same team, so to speak, they each held differing theological views. One group believed in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the other group did not. 

How did Paul get out of this situation? He says in Acts 23:6, “I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees; I am on trial for the hope and resurrection of the dead!” He threw the “steak” of theological differences into the religious council’s yard - which meant trouble in River City! 

What was the result? The Pharisees and Sadducees, each thinking that they were right and the other was wrong, started arguing with each other. The Bible describes the scene as a “great dissension,” “divided,” “great uproar,” “argue heatedly,” and “afraid Paul might be torn to pieces.” It was a dog fight. The Jews were fighting among themselves. Why? They were focusing on the XYZ’s rather than the ABC’s. 

What became of Paul? The Roman commander sent Paul away from the meeting to the barracks. Just think of this. Paul walked away with a fully paid life insurance policy in the form of "200 soldiers, 70 horsemen, and another 200-spearman" protecting him from his own people. Then the Romans gave him an all-expense-paid trip to Rome for fear of his safety. Why? He knew about the Doberman Pinscher strategy. He had repeatedly seen in his rabbinical school. He had seen it all his life in relationships with others. He knew how human nature works and used it to his advantage. 

We can apply this to our lives, community, and country. We often allow little steaks of our individual differences to divide us, just like those Doberman Pinschers. Take a married couple who has a long history of unresolved differences. All it takes is for someone or something to throw the steak of a sensitive issue at them and what is inside of them climbs out of them. Winning the argument, staying in power, and proving their point, becomes more important than their relationship. A house divided can’t and won’t stand. And the beat goes on. 

We are experiencing this situation in many countries, communities, relationships, and businesses today. We've seen the Doberman Strategy at work in the 2016 elections. In this case, it was Russia. They created Facebook pages based on specific issues intended to create division and split our nation. All they had to do is throw the steak into the yard, and the Doberman Pinschers would fight over everything from A to Z. Meanwhile, the robber is robbing national unity and relationships. But don't blame this on Russia, blame it on us for allowing it to happen.

Let's be wise and understanding and learn that winning the argument is not more important than losing our business, community, relationship, or even our nation. Let's not fall victim to impulses, unawareness, or selfishness, winning the battle but losing the war. The steak might be stimulating, but don't lose sight of the main objective. I've seen people so crazed about their steak that they would rather destroy their nation, church, or business than not get their way.

Currently, here in the United States, we are working through some incendiary issues needing real solutions that only divine wisdom will solve. And solve them we will if we don't buy into the robber and baiter strategy that keeps trying to short-circuit the process of guarding the house while we fix the problems. 

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Good point about the Dobermans but an example or two of “incendiary issues” in contemporary politics would have helped.
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Ed Delph is a leader in church-community connections.
Visit Ed Delph's website at www.nationstrategy.com