Whether you are Protestant, Catholic or
Independent, Christians prepare in some way to celebrate the
resurrection of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, on Easter. Our focus is
inward and outward to be better followers of our Lord. It is a time of
repentance and renewal although each Sunday is often referred to as a
mini-Easter. Surely, we should celebrate our new life in Christ and
become more like Him every day as we look forward to that day when He
will return for His own, including His animals! The Bible says that
creation is groaning in labor pains waiting for the revelation of the
children of God - hoping to be set free from slavery to corruption (see
Romans 8:19-22). Jesus came to set the captive free and we are to extend
His freedom to all.
We live in a self-serving culture of
factory farming, experimentation, puppy mills, rodeos, bull fighting,
dog fighting and racing, circuses, fishing and hunting (hunters in the
Bible are considered to be rebels against God). After these animals are
neglected, maimed, or abused, we leave them to suffer or dump them into
the hands of a small percentage of caring people who are already
overwhelmed. We have believed the lie that animals are here for us to
use as we choose and overlook God's compassion on them. We will give an
answer on how we've supported their suffering and how we've protected
and cared for them.
We celebrate new life, Jesus'
resurrection by eating animals (animals that suffered beyond our
imagination) to fill our stomachs and satisfy our cravings for flesh.
Pigs are treated as machinery in the multi-billion dollar agri-business
of factory 'farming' so we can have 'pork', 'ham', or various sausages.
Do we ever think about how much that pig suffered? Virtually all animals
raised today live a life of horror being tortured, scalded (or boiled
alive), debeaked, shoved into tiny cages or warehouses, force fed,
starved, given hormones and antibiotics, beaten, dragged, and robbed of
their babies (calves, chicks, piglets, etc.) to continue the life of
horror all for THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL - MONEY.
In the beginning all life was created to
be vegetarian. We were made in God's image, and our bodies were created
to be vegetarian (see Genesis 1:26-31). Only after sin entered the
world, did we begin to eat animals. The prophecy of pestilences,
diseases through animals (cows, chickens, pigs, birds, insects, etc.),
written in Luke 21:11 and Matthew 24:7, is a sign of the end of the age.
We are seeing more diseases (those reported) these days through animals.
God was not happy in Numbers 11 when His people wanted meat to eat -
'the Lord struck the people with a very severe plague' (vs 33). Greed
for meat was dealt with. We know that it's not what enters our stomachs
that defiles us, but the condition of our hearts. Surely factory farming
is the ultimate of greed prevalent in our society. This industry takes
precious grain away from starving people, depletes the environment with
pollution and deforestation, exploits emigration workers, and causes
immense pain and suffering to God's creatures which HE DEEPLY CARES FOR.
We need to ask ourselves 'Why do I support cruelty?'
When we think of Easter we think of
buying baby rabbits, chicks, and ducks to play with. They are often left
to roam on their own (if they survive) or dumped at a shelter when they
aren't wanted any more. We buy eggs to color and have Easter egg hunts.
The hens that had these eggs are raised in tiny cages with crippled
feet, after they had their beaks seared off. These shy animals live in
filthy sheds filled with thousands of stacked cages. After living a
horrible life for about 1-2 years producing hundreds of eggs later, the
hens are packed into trucks and sent to slaughter, where they face
machinery. Every day, one large chicken complex uses up to millions of
gallons of water. It also produces approximately 100 -125 tons of
manure. Some 'farms' discharge their waste into nearby rivers and
streams. Yet these doomed hens have Motherly instincts to protect their
young with their wings which Jesus used as an analogy to express His
love for Jerusalem.
We often don't want to look with God's
eyes at the suffering we cause and choose to continue to live out the
traditions of men. The traditions of using animals for our pleasure. We
also buy wool, and down for insulation, not knowing the suffering these
animals are forced to endure. Fur is also the product of cruelty, (as we
all should know), yet we buy it to look fashionable. God sees the
sparrow and cares for it. He cares for the ox that works and gave laws
for their owners to follow to give them a good life. All of the animals
were created BY HIM and FOR HIM which He gave us to care for (Colossians
1:16; Genesis 1:26-31). Instead, we maim them, destroy them, exploit
them and kill them. It's time to leave our ways behind and follow Jesus
more closely as Peter did after he left his fishing to live for Him.
Beginning this Lenten Season and
Resurrection Day and always, let's celebrate Jesus' redemption for the
whole world by striving to treat all of His animals with respect. Let's
live our lives for God by not supporting animal abuse that is behind
every meat and dairy counter. Creation is waiting for YOU to repent and
become the children of God Who has compassion on ALL He has made (Psalm
145:9). God is waiting for YOU to allow Him to live in you more fully
and care for His animals. Only then, can we ask His blessings on our
meals and our lives. Do we have the fruit of the Spirit of peace,
patience, kindness and gentleness? It is long overdue to break the
violence we literally have been putting into our lives. It's time to
return to the life we were meant to live being made in His image.
Someday a child will lead animals on God's holy mountain where 'the
earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord...' (Isaiah 11:9).
Hopefully, Christians will have ears to hear and change their ways to
follow God's way of compassion for all of His animals. We have a choice
- either to forsake our selfish ways in supporting cruelty or to protect
and care for God's creatures.
Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!