Swords to Plowshares

Promoting a faith-based love for all creation.

Should Proverbs 31:8 and other similar passages be applied to how we treat animals even though the original context does not specify to do so?

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are appointed to die” (Proverbs 31:8).

There are similar passages such as Galatians 5:22-23 that talk about the fruit of the spirit or Luke 6:36 where Jesus says to be merciful just as God is merciful. These passages don’t explicitly mention animals, but they reveal the characteristics of someone following the spirit of God.

So the question to ask ourselves is: when it comes to how we treat animals, should we do the opposite or should we embody the same spirit? In other words, should we exhibit the fruits of love, peace, gentleness, etc in our dealings with animals or should we do the opposite and be violent, uncaring, and harsh tyrants over them? Should we be merciful as God is merciful or should we be merciless like the devil (John 8:44)?

As it applies to Proverbs 31:8, should we be the voice speaking out against animal cruelty or should we harden our hearts to it and ignore their suffering like the antagonists in the Good Samaritan parable Jesus told (Luke 10:25-37)? Or worse, should we be the devils responsible for animals’ lives being a hell on earth (Habakkuk 2:17)?

We would do better to be like Jesus in the temple courts, overturning the tables and liberating the animals being sold for slaughter (Matthew 21:12-17; Mark 11:15-19; Luke 19:45-48; John 2:13-16), rather than hardening our hearts to their suffering. If our hearts are hardened instead of merciful, how do we reflect the image of God’s love that we were created in (Genesis 1:27)?

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