Mistreating Animals

Q. I have a family member who has about 8 dogs, but not because he wants them. They’re his girlfriend’s. He kicks them, hits them, etc. He recently got bitten on the leg. He claims to be a Christian , but how can a Christian be cruel and uncaring to any animal? My question is about the following verse.

Proverbs 12:10 ….”A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.” I don’t understand the “tender mercies” part. How can the wicked have “tender mercies”?

A. Proverbs 12:10 means a believer knows that his or her animals are God’s creatures, created by Him, and are to be treated accordingly. Unbelievers lack this perspective so their compassion is self serving and some of them have no qualms about mistreating animals.

Your family member’s behavior toward his girl friend’s dogs may be an expression of the anger he feels toward her for making him put up with them, and not necessarily an indication of his feelings for the dogs. But either way it’s not appropriate behavior for a Christian. If he’s unhappy with the situation, he should talk with her about it, not mistreat her dogs. If he really doesn’t like them, he should be reminded that they’re God’s creatures and deserve better treatment out of respect for Him.

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