The Mary T. and
Frank L. Hoffman
Letters and Responses
Letter from Lisa Concerning Living in this World with so much Animal Suffering - 9 Dec 2004
I became a vegetarian as a teenager for nutrition reasons, but, at that time, didnít think about the tremendous, horrific abuse and neglect of animals until I became informed. Over the past 15 years, I'm 44, I have increasingly become more upset, and very depressed about the extremely cruel treatment of all animals by human beings. I relay my feelings and thoughts about this to people close to me, like my Mom, husband and friends, and most all are apathetic, and think I'm extreme in my thinking.
Christians seem to be the worst in their total lack of sensitivity to the harsh and cruel treatment of animals, and most don't think animals have souls and spirits. I definitely do, as I have always had dogs, and have 2 Labradors now, and adore them beyond words. I know my dogs have all the human feelings that I possess. They add so, so, so much to our lives!! And, they act more like Christians than most Christians do.
I feel so alone in how I feel and think, and helpless in what I can do to prevent the suffering and such callous and cruel treatment of animals: of pets, those in the meat and seafood industry, etc. I just long for Jesus to return, so all this needless suffering of animals will end. I know children suffer too, but they grow up to be adults. Animals are at the mercy of cruel and insensitive, calloused, apathetic human beings.
My question is how do I live in this world, and not be constantly upset and depressed over the tremendous suffering of animals, and people's apathetic attitudes about the suffering of animals? When I think about animal suffering I cry, and I seem to be crying much lately. Being involved in organizations like this would make me cry even more to hear the horrible animal abuse, neglect and suffering stories. I've wanted to join an animal rights organization, or help an organization that adopts homeless dogs, but then I would be exposed to these horror stories all the time, which I just can't seem to handle emotionally.
I really would appreciate an answer to my question above, about how I live in this world with so much animal suffering. Nothing in this world bothers me and upsets me so very much as animal abuse, neglect and suffering.
Reply by Frank and Mary
Thank you for your compassionate heart and for allowing us to share your feelings.
You are not alone in the way you feel. We have people write to us all the time with similar concerns and feelings. We also pray for the Lord's return every day, that He would usher in His peaceable kingdom, just as you do.
Perhaps an analogy might help. We probably all have cut or burned a finger while we were cooking, and it hurts. If we concentrate on the injury, the pain seems to linger longer. However, if we treat the injury and go on with our daily lives, we find that our injury heals in a relatively short time. We can't hide from the possibility of having such an injury again, or we'd never be able to prepare our meals again, so we find ways of reminding ourselves to be more careful the next time.
Our emotional pain can be even worse, and it's very, very real, as you all too well know. We can't really hide from the source of the emotional stress, for it's all around us. What we need to learn to do is work through it. It's like living in a constantly overcast and rainy day, where even at noontime everything is wet and gray. Even on such a day the sun is still shining brightly. What we need to do is train our mind's eye to look above the clouds to see the bright sun and brilliant blue sky.
Isaiah paints us such a picture of God's peaceable kingdom where neither we nor the animals will harm each other ever again (Isaiah 11:6-9). We need to focus on this promise, and know that one day God will bring it to a reality. In the meantime, we can do everything in our power to bring God's heavenly will to earth as it is in heaven. And, in the process be thankful for the successes we do make.
As an individual vegetarian, you are saving at least 35 land animals and probably even more sea animals every year. Be thankful for that, and rejoice! We can be the Lord's constant witness to the world around us of what it means to be a peacemaking child of God.
Even though some of the people around us dismiss our sensitivity, and may even mock us, they know how we feel and what we believe. They behave this way because we have made them feel uncomfortable, and because they know we're right, for God has instilled in each of us the discernment of what the Lord requires of us. And in this knowledge, there is hope. Look beyond these people to the people you know God desires them to be, and pray for them.
The reason that your dogs seem to be more Christian than most professing Christians is that they have more unconditional love within them, and they have more of the knowledge of the Lord that is a critical ingredient of the peaceable kingdom.
We hope this helps.
In the Love of the Lord,
Frank and Mary
We welcome your comments
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