“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
As you read this short article and contemplate what is happening, ask yourself “what is the Holy Spirit saying?” about this. Watching the video is optional; I no longer can watch them myself, I’ve seen the footage before and know what it contains.
In pondering America’s Independence Day celebration July 4th, I thought about another kind of Independence Day, the one Jesus gave us. But, in looking around at the state of the world, and as is depicted in this article, we aren’t yet free from evil influence. Animals, especially, are not free from tyranny.
Jesus did die to “set the captives free.” And until He comes back the second time, we are to partner with Him to bring about freedom from autocracy on earth, for people and animals:
- Jesus gave us “independence from evil” through His act of war on the cross; it is a free gift for the taking; we only need to accept Him, take up our cross, and follow Him;
- Pray and revolt against evil in all it’s forms, for “independence from evil” for people and animals now – pray God will open all our eyes and hearts to their cries for mercy – that instead of despotism, they will experience the Father’s love through us;
- Call upon the Lord for the final Independence Day, when He comes again for the final restoration – Lord come! Amen.
So let’s ponder upon the article for a bit. Some in the Christian faith may consider this sort of news too disturbing, and thus not want to know about it. Still others may consider what secular animal welfare organizations are doing here as “shock value” and feel it inappropriate. However we may see it, what is shown here is obviously a reality for these animals. It is inappropriate that it is happening to them at all. It is equally inappropriate for us to shut it out – this is about their pain and suffering. “What is the Spirit saying?” to us, as God witnesses this behavior from His human creation toward His animal creation?…. about the silence from some who claim His name?
Nothing here is said in a spirit of judgment – none are blameless, we are all in the same boat! As Christians, the hope is that we seek the truth, look at the realities – where we fall short, where we are off track, where our theology doesn’t match the teachings of Christ – and take responsibility for our actions or our inaction -rethink, re-educate ourselves if need be – seek revelation of the truth from God and God alone about our understanding of everything we think we know and all we don’t know. We especially look at the realities of what is happening in the world around us and take what we see to Jesus and ask Him what we need to do about what we see.
Jesus died first to “destroy the devil’s work” (1 John 3:8) and second, “as a ransom to set the captives free (Luke 4:18).” This freedom is from bondage to the devil; God’s power is available to us to resist the devil and his evil ways. Those who follow Jesus are responsible for standing up to evil wherever it rears it’s ugliness. Being aware of incidents like this are part of fighting spiritual warfare. God did not free us by His work on the cross to experience a life of bliss. He promises us strength to bear the horrors of evil while we work to help relieve the pain and suffering of those whom evil is being unleashed upon, and strength to stand up to it in revolt. This may include hard choices that might not be convenient for us, but are in keeping with love, kindness and mercy. We are called to be His viceroys, His hands and feet; Jesus’ life is an example of how we fight. In the words of Greg Boyd from his book “God at War”:
- (pages 254,255) This is our part in spiritual war. We proclaim Christ’s truth by praying it, speaking it and ….by demonstrating it. We are not to accept with serene pious resignation the evil aspects of our world as “coming from a father’s hand.” Rather, following the example of our Lord and Savior, and going forth with the confidence that he has in principle already defeated his (and our) foes, we are to revolt against the evil aspects of our world as coming from the devil’s hand. Our revolt is to be broad – as broad as the evil we seek to confront, and as broad as the work of the cross we seek to proclaim. Wherever there is destruction, hatred, apathy, injustice, pain or hopelessness, whether it concerns God’s creation (emphasis mine), a structural feature of society, or the physical, psychological or spiritual aspect of an individual, we are in word and deed to proclaim to the evil powers that be, “You are defeated.” As Jesus did, we proclaim this by demonstrating it.
When we accept Christ, we are pledging to follow Him to battle in His power against “the principalities and powers, the rulers and authorities of this dark world, and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph 6: 10-18). We are not fighting against people; Satan is using people to carry out his business – he is a liar, thief, and a murderer. People do make choices; however, only God knows the true state of their hearts or their circumstances.
We are also to work with Him to manifest His kingdom on earth now – the kingdom order that He originally intended – until He returns to put a final end to evil and all creation will undergo final redemption.
As I read the article, I kept thinking: How are we going to connect our job here on earth to bring about the kingdom of God with regard to the systemic evil we are witnessing everywhere in our industries that deal with the animal kingdom – how are we going to align our faith values and actions on a personal and corporate level within the faith communities to combat these evils? As the article tells us, the industries themselves lie to us. Many industry insiders and animal rights skeptics claim that investigations like this only show isolated and extreme cases of cruelty. How are we to know the truth?
In next weeks post we’ll ponder these questions; we’ll discuss some ideas about finding truth in a world full of deception, and aligning our choices with our faith values.
Your comments and suggestions are welcome! Stay tuned for Part Two! Thanks for reading! We hope you will continue following our blog! ~Kathy