"And what does the Lord require
of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your
In my last article, I talked about the
importance of discipline. And though I briefly touched on it, I'd
like to take this opportunity to talk about abuse.
I've noticed a strange, sad, and even tragic
characteristic among dogs: the more you hit a dog, the less friendly
it becomes towards others; yet the more fiercely loyal it becomes
towards it's abuser. I'm sure animal experts could explain to me the
psychology behind it; and some might even parallel it to battered
women remaining loyal to their abusers. But knowing the psychology
behind something does not make it any less tragic.
Dogs are innately born with love. It's
almost as if--and I do not doubt it--they are programmed to love.
Raised in a proper environment, a dog will show affection even to
strangers. And not just dogs. My cat, Squawker, is the ultimate
extrovert. When I lived in Montana--on a safer street than I do
now--I used to leave the windows open for my cats to wander. Sneezy,
more of an introvert, would set off for the fields--for hunt and
adventure. Squawker, though, set off for the people. He even took it
upon himself to make visits to my neighbors--in their homes! It
saddens me to see an animal whose innate, instinctive love has been
beaten out of it.
To prevent us from inadvertently (or
deliberately) abusing each other, God has set down many guidelines,
to help us treat each other with respect. Guidelines like Micah
6:8--"And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to
love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." Jesus identified
Leviticus 19:18, "Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of
your people, but love your neighbor as yourself", as one of the most
important commands ever. He encouraged us to rise above
retribution--to "turn the other cheek" (Matthew 5:39, Luke 6:29). In
Ephesians 4:26, Paul instructs us, "Do not let the sun go down while
you are still angry"--resolve conflict quickly. And James writes,
"Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become
angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that
God desires" (James 1:19 - 20). We see, again and again, God's desire
throughout the Scriptures that we treat each other justly and
appropriately. That we treat each other not with anger, but with
It sounds so easy, doesn't it?
Unfortunately, it's not always as easy as it should be--but hopefully
we'll try, day by day.
If you have anything of interest to add to
or you have general comments, questions, or ideas,
we welcome your response.
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