Eschewing the call to subdue while enjoying the fruits of what someone else subdued
I sat on a park bench sipping my hazelnut latte and enjoying a peach tart pastry when I noticed a squirrel a few feet away from me sitting back on its haunches and gingerly sniffing the air. As I watched the squirrel inch closer and closer to me testing the atmosphere to discern if I would feed him or chase him away, I saw a woman walking her dog nearby. She saw the squirrel and shouted to me, “Squirrels are destructive.” Instinctively, I rebuked the curse she spoke and blessed the squirrel. I was affronted by her quickness to curse the squirrel while walking her dog, which can be destructive and is a descendant of a wolf, which is currently considered by many to be destructive, as well. It seemed hypocritical and lacking in self-awareness.
I thought to myself how odd it was for her to enjoy the fruits (having a domesticated dog) of what someone else took the time to subdue (a descendant of the wolf family) and to shun someone else (me) for interacting with a currently unsubdued species (squirrels). I was perplexed by her lack of vision and lack of compassion for wild animals. She obviously enjoyed domesticated animals, but she didn’t seem to understand that dogs (wolves) were not always tame. Or that many “tame” and “domesticated” dogs can be destructive and even violently aggressive toward humans.
Her lack of vision led to me consider the scripture says that “where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18 KJV). I began to consider that when we perish from our lack of vision, then all that we govern and rule over also suffers. We were created to rule and reign and subdue the earth. When we shirk our God-given authority and responsibility, then not only do we suffer but so does the earth and everything in it. That’s not to say that God doesn’t care for the earth and provide for everything that He has created. Instead, it is to say that we have a part to play in bringing His Kingdom on earth and when we don’t fulfill our role, there are consequences. And those consequences affect more than just the human race.
The consequences increase when we curse those creatures and people that God has brought into our lives and placed in our paths for us to minister to, speak life and love over, and reveal who God is by how we treat those creatures and people. Our love for God must be measurable in how we treat others. Otherwise, our love for God is merely hypothetical and intellectual, not honest and heart-felt. We must love what He loves, if we love Him. And He has compassion on everything that He created (Psalm 145:9).
Dogs can be destructive. Wolves can be destructive. And, yes, squirrels can be destructive. But so can human beings. Even with merely words, humans can wreak havoc on the world and on the souls of others.
Our response to destructive behavior reflects our vision for bringing a Kingdom solution to the brokenness we see in another’s behavior, whether that other is an undomesticated squirrel or a human being. I hope and pray that as I mature in my faith that I am able to bring Kingdom wisdom and solutions to the destructiveness evident in the world around me. I want to be someone who brings light, love, mercy and redemption to the broken.
I challenge you today: let us be depart from the way of cursing and causing destruction with our words and actions. Let us be champions of all that are yet undomesticated and currently unsubdued. Let us manifest the love of God to those who are unsaved, unrepentant or have in some way chosen to be our enemies. Let us live to express our love to God in how we treat all that He has created, especially those in whom He placed His image – humankind. Let us bring His love into every circumstance and situation, even to the wild animals that struggle to eke out an existence around us even as many of us ignore them and fail to walk in the authority that God gave us.
Although I am stunned and grieved by this woman who cursed the squirrel and my interaction with the squirrel, I pray for God to bless her. I pray for God to pour out His favor over her life, her family, the work of her hands, her dog and all that is in her life. I pray that she comes to know the saving love of Jesus and that her eyes are opened to see His beauty all around her.
I also pray for my own growth in self-awareness and that the Lord lead me to repentance where I in my ignorance and rebellion have cursed others. I pray the Lord increasingly tenderizes my heart toward all He has created and especially all humankind so that I may pray for them, bless them and speak life and love into their lives. May I overflow the love that the Lord has extravagantly poured out over me. In Jesus name, Amen.