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Archive for November, 2011

Have mercy.

About a month ago, I happened to notice on the Yahoo! news page that there was an article about some wild animals roaming the streets in Ohio. I didn’t pay much mind to it…till, about a week later, my mother was reading the concluding article to that story. I sat with her, and the first thing I noticed were the large pictures posted with the article. A monkey, a leopard, and a bear stared out from separate cages, their eyes large, frightened and sad. This is what happened–

This man in Ohio had over 56 exotic animals…ranging from baboons to lions. He was in trouble with the government over taxes, and his neighbors didn’t like him much at all, especially since he’d been careless  in past years and had had a couple of animal escapees.

Neighbors called the police one day to report that animals were out….a lot of animals. When the police arrived at the man’s home, they found his body surrounded by some of his animals. He had committed suicide.

But now there were about 56 animals on the loose, many of them dangerous carnivores. To avoid the risk of losing tranquilized animals in the woods, or the risk of people being hurt, the sheriff’s department went out with high powered rifles and killed nearly every single animal.  There was a picture (which I wished afterward that I had not seen) of rows of tigers, bears, wolves…..all lined up on the ground, dead.  If I recall correctly, the man had over a dozen rare Bengal tigers and nearly that many lions, male and female. Now all that was left of the man’s menagerie had been sent to the zoo—two monkeys, three leopards, and a bear.

Understand, I am not a green earth person, or a member of the PETA. I do believe that mankind has been given the authority to care for God’s creation–in a responsible way.

But my blood was boiling. I was SO angry. All those rare tigers! All those beautiful creatures…..wasted! Massacred! They must have been so frightened, so confused and uncertain after their owner let them out of their cages. What kind of a cold-hearted beast would have done that to innocent animals? Didn’t he THINK? Didn’t he care that the police were going to have to kill nearly all of them? I was furious.  My eyes were stinging with tears and I called that horrible owner about a dozen horrible names as I made my way to my father, to report the gruesome facts to him. He loved animals–and especially big cats–just as much as I did.

I related the story, not leaving out my opinions of the man, and waited for my father’s response. It was completely unexpected.

“Poor man. Dying all alone, like that. Trouble with the government, neighbors….must have driven him to it.”

I was stunned. And all of a sudden, like a light starting to come on, I thought about the man.  The human life. The lonely soul. What had driven him to commit suicide?

Was there anyone who cared about him? Did he have any good friends? Did anyone ever care to tell him how Jesus loved him and died for him…that there was still hope?  Would one encouragement have made a difference? Is he now dead…and perhaps in Hell… for want of one kind word?

As I left my father’s room, all my anger was gone. Instead was a horrible, horrible sadness for the destruction of one precious human life made in the image of God.

There is so much power in the human tongue. The Bible says that in the tongue is the power of death and life. The tongue is untamed, set on fire of hell, and as destructive as a raging wildfire. On the other hand, Jesus said that His words were spirit and life.  God has given us our tongues and the ability to speak. May we never be so selfish as to remain silent to the needs of others–others who are hurting, or discouraged, or lost,  or sad, or desperate,  or hopeless, or unable to speak for themselves. Have mercy on them…and remember, just one word could make a difference. All the difference in the world.

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