Do you know what a leech is? In the day, they would use this blood-sucking little worm-like creature to "pull-out" infection and treat diseases. We don't use them very often any longer, but they still have their purposes in some cultures. In the simplest terms, a leech is something or someone who "clings" to another for the personal gain which will come from the attachment! In the blood-letting process of the past, the leech took the blood, but really "gave" very little in return. I suppose you might think they "gave" back the health to the one who used them, but really - they just TOOK.
A leech has twin daughters named "Gimme" and "Gimme more." (Proverbs 30:15 The Message)
The problem with leeches is they are never satisfied! They want more. The littlest taste of blood drives them on to get even more! The fact is, the beginning of the process of "attachment" is really the initiation of a series of events which occur. There is first the attachment - until connection is made, they are pretty harmless. Then, they insert three razor sharp "blades" into their host - cutting their way into their flesh. At first, the attachment seems pretty harmless, until you begin to feel the impression of their progressive "cutting". Then, as a final act to ensure their host actually provides them the much hoped for feast of blood, the little blood-sucking critter secretes a form of an anticoagulant (a blood thinner), ensuring that their host "bleeds".
Okay...hope that was not too graphic, but it has some significance for us in looking at our scripture. First, Solomon says we might just find ourselves dealing with leeches at times - those individuals who attach themselves to us for the personal gain the connection can produce. The leech is nothing apart from a host to feed upon. In time, they will die without the "life-blood" they so desire. In the most literal sense, we'd call this kind of "friend" a parasite! They take with no intention of giving back! If we have a whole lot of these kinds of friends, we find ourselves pretty "weakened" by their demand for more and more! We might endure one or two, but if we never have anyone else "giving into" our lives, we will feel pretty drained.
Second, Solomon reminds us they don't travel alone! There are "twin daughters" - Gimme and Gimme More! Uh oh! The effect of these "twins" - they exhaust our resources! Remember what I told you about the leech - it actually has a way of "controlling" the flow of the blood - by making the person's blood thinner. Our body's natural defense is to send "clotting" agents to the site of bleeding - while this little creature goes to work dissolving those clotting agents with the chemical it uses to "thin out" the blood. Little Miss Gimme and Gimme More are just as greedy!
Now, lest you think I have been surrounded by a whole passel of blood-sucking leeches who are exhausting my resources, let me set your mind at ease. In fact, over the years, I have learned some valuable lessons about relationships which seem to be "higher maintenance" than others. I have to "pace" myself in dealing with these individuals - otherwise they would "suck me dry". The same is true with you. You probably have some "higher maintenance" relationships - those folks who always make demands of your time, talent, energies. If you don't learn to set some limits, they will leave you pretty lifeless.
In another sense, we all deal with other kinds of leeches in our lives. Things which just seem to "attach" and then serve to do nothing more than suck the very life from us. We might call these things habits - or addictions. No addiction comes alone - it has "twin daughters" named Gimme and Gimme More! At first, the habit seemed harmless. In time, you notice the little "sucker of life" seems to have more than one place of attachment in your life! Maybe this is why Solomon felt it so important to point out these "leeches" to us. There have been times when I have had to ask God to "break the connection" of these "leeches" because their attachment was so strong!
How do we ever avoid their attachment? Well, one thing I know for sure - if we don't swim in the "murky waters" in the first place, we can avoid their breeding ground! If we think we can "dabble" in sin without any "attachment" of harmful stuff, we are sadly deluded. Swim in the "muck and mire" long enough, and you will find yourself with all kinds of "leeching" attachments!