Kindness to Animals
Kindness to Animals
Daily Reading: (Proverbs 12:10):
“The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.”
This verse is not saying that a nonbeliever will always will treat animals worse than believers. The opposite can be true. A believer is capable of treating animals with cruelty, but the difference is the righteous have the ability to live from the new Christ-like nature they have been given. The Apostle Paul is clear, any ugliness that comes out of our lives, including unkindness to animals does not come from our new hearts and transformed minds (Romans 7:15-23). Rather, it comes from our flesh (Romans 7:18). We can be unkind to animals if we act as what we once were apart from Christ. So, the obvious statement here is that it is God’s desire that we would care for and look after animals that He has entrusted to us in our care.
A true believer has a compassionate nature. Even the life of a pet is treasured (Proverbs 12:10).
“Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground” (Genesis 1:28).
This is before sin entered the world. We have a clear look at the world as it should be, the world as it will be when God restores it, as heaven comes to earth, and we enter into the place Jesus has prepared just for us. Animals were not killed at this point. Animals were not mistreated and they did not attack or come against mankind.
Before sin entered the picture God gave us an awesome task as He placed animals in our rule/care (Genesis 1:28).
That means we were created to act out of love, or, we might say, to act out of concern; not to use and abuse, but to act for the well-being of the animals that we governed.
God cares for the needs of His animals, and this was God’s original calling for how we should do the same, and according to Proverbs 12:10 this is still the calling of the lives of the righteous. When you care for animals, you are living in the way God intended you to live.
God gave Adam rule over the creatures of the planet and then God set in His heart how he would do this by taking ownership over them (Genesis 2:19-20).
Genesis 2:19-20 says: “Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.”
If you have ever been to an animal rescue shelter before you know there is a chance you might come home with one of God’s precious animals. Now if you see an animal and you name it, well that’s called game over. By naming the animal you have connected to the animal. You are linking yourself to it. You are saying indirectly, “I want this animal to come under my care.” That is how God wired us back from the beginning when God brought the animals to Adam so he would name them. In naming them, the animals were placed under his care and he took ownership of them.
Unfortunately, the relationship between man and animals unraveled with sin. Sin continues to damage relationships today. God created animals to be friendly to mankind, but we find that after the Flood the relationship is anything but.
Genesis 9:1-2: “So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand.”
The Flood marked the end of an age. The relationship between man and animals is now going to be dominated by fear and by a measure of force that God never intended to exercise man’s rule over animals. When Jesus came into the world He ushered in peace and when He ascended into heaven, He gave us His peace. “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). So now we must reject the world of fear, center our attention on Jesus, gaze upon His beauty and allow love to enter in-fear to be removed. Isaiah 26:3 says: “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”When you keep your mind on Jesus, His perfect love and peace will follow and bring you into a place of rest because you trust Him. So fear has entered and our relationship with animals has been strained but the dominion is still there and we can still chose to display love and care.
When we move from Genesis to Proverbs, sin had wreaked havoc not just on mankind but also on animals. With age comes arthritis, bad hips, cataracts, am I taking about people or animals? Both because sin affected all of creation. Even though animals can bite us, animals can attack us and even kill us, including our own pets -Proverbs 12:10 says:“The righteous care for the needs of their animals,we are called to carefully and loving care for them.
Our verse says: “The righteous care for the needs of their animals.” The Hebrew word that is used for care is “yada” it means to know, to learn from experience.
Pete our adopted dog recently had some medical problems. He developed vestibular disease which is fairly common in older dogs. When he has them it looks like he is having a seizure but he is not. If we carefully observe him, we can catch it before they come on, give him medicine and prevent it from happening. We have learned to look for signs and this is part of what I think it means to care for the needs of animals. It goes beyond food and bathing and walks. Even among the same species, each animal is unique and a little different and needs slightly different care. There is a blessing to be found in caring for others and for caring in God’s creation.
When we stop and take care of an animal in our care, it should remind us that we are under the care of the Great Shepherd who watches over and loves us and cares for us.