Last night, a beautiful young lady made a comment that really touched me. I had been talking about how I don't like seeing people mistreated - bullied, ignored, cast aside. My apologies to her, but I can't recall the exact words she used. It was either "people care more about animals than they do people... they care more about furniture" or "people treat animals better than they do other people... they treat furniture better."
Either way, she was right. And, it saddens me that someone this young can see this, and has to see this.
The best way to judge a person's character is to see how they treat animals...?I've heard that statement before, and thought nothing of it, until it was suggested that some people treat animals better than people. I have known people who take very good care of their animals. One particular couple I know had a bird and a cat. Those two animals were well fed, played with, talked to, held, and never once abused. The children in the home had to clean the entire home, cook all the meals, were kept on a very strict routine, were often "kenneled" in their rooms, and were beaten severely and often.
I've known some who will make a bed outside next to a sick calf, but come to school the next day and bully other students. I've known some who will cry over an injured animal, but physically abuse a supposed loved one or friend. I've known some who will take in any stray animal they can find, but kick their own child out of the house in the middle of winter for no reason.
Don't get me wrong - I'm all for treating animals well. I cried for hours when I accidentally hit a squirrel with an arrow when I was a child. I'm constantly trying to bring strays into the home. But a person's character is not only how they treat animals...
It's how we treat all living creatures, and especially how we treat other people!
God created everything - the land, the sea, the birds, fish, and all animals. And He made man guardians of it all. We do not own this land - it is His alone. But we are to care of it (see Leviticus 25). Additionally, we are to care for the animals. We are to treat them well, helping the sick ones, finding the lost ones (see Genesis 1, Ezekiel 34).
There are definite references throughout the Bible that we are to care for these things. However, I don't know if you can find a chapter within the Bible which doesn't mention how we should care for others (ok, there probably is... but it is stated quite often). We are to love each other. We are to care for each other. We are to make sure those who need food are fed; those who need shelter are protected; those who are naked are clothed; those who are in sorrow are comforted; those who feel alone are welcomed.
So why does it sadden me to have this young person talk about how mean people are?
First, generally for someone to recognize this, it means they've also experienced it. Granted, I don't know for certain if she has, but as I have seen how mean people can be, I would not doubt she's been on the receiving end. And this is definitely saddening. This is an intelligent, polite, insightful young lady with a beautiful soul.
Second, it's quite sad that someone of her age can recognize this fact when most adults can't even see it. Or, they can see it in others, but act the same as those others. And, I honestly cannot leave myself out of that. While I do try to be loving, and do try to avoid being hurtful to others, I know I have had my share of mean moments.
Let me end this rambling...
I know, I know. I talk about this topic a lot. Love love love! But seriously - this is what it is all about. This is what Christ is about. Let's stop treating our animals (and furniture) better than we treat one another. Let's open our hearts to people, and close our mouths from uttering mean things to (or about) one another.