Verse 10: “A righteous man regards the life of his animal, but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.”
Today's "gold nugget" is one that spoke to me years ago in a special way. I wasn't aware of the bible mentioning cruelty to animals. I just figured God was so concerned with us that He didn't make mention of animals. Although I would consider myself one that loves animals, I would not have thought a man's wickedness or righteousness was measurable by his treatment of animals. We do have a tendency to be "righteous" in the "right" areas of our lives. That is, the areas that we think measure who we are. The problem is that we have the whole thing backwards. Being cruel to animals is just the symptom of the real wickedness that infects our lives.
The wicked heart is the real problem and manifests itself through various symptoms. It could be cruelty to animals, laziness, selfishness, perversion, drunkenness, or many other potential ways it could reveal itself in our lives. You may know the ways it rears it ugly head in your life. You may be aware of the many ways it may manifest itself. Many people try to focus on the symptoms instead of the real cause. The only real progress one can make in having victory is to acknowledge their inner defect and allow the Lord to take rule in their heart. The wicked manifestations we mentioned are the overflow of a heart that is, or gives in to wickedness. In turn, the Lord's rule in our heart will overflow with righteousness. Don't focus on the works of the flesh, focus on putting to death the flesh and its works will perish with it.
Lord, help us to demonstrate tender and mercy in how we treat each other and even possibly some of your lesser creation – animals. Cruelty is not a character trait that we want anyone to consider normal or acceptable for a Christian. Amen
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