“A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal, But even the compassion of the wicked is cruel.”
Proverbs 12:10 (NASB)
“Paw. Lettuce. Paw. Lettuce. Good girl, Cookie. You did it! Paw. Lettuce. Paw. Lettuce….”
These are the words I overheard my daughter saying to her Guinea pig, Cookie, a few days ago. Caroline was training her pet to high-five by holding up Cookie’s paw and then giving her a piece of lettuce, and while it was taking a long time to get her to do it on her own it was working because Caroline was patient with her pet. My daughter LOVES her Guinea pig, and that really is an understatement. She makes sure Cookie is clean, groomed, healthy, and well-fed. She builds obstacle courses for her to play in and she snuggles with her every day. She considers herself as Cookie’s mom. And, if you meet my daughter, you are 100 percent guaranteed to hear about Cookie.
By her actions, Caroline illustrates the Proverbs 12:10 person who is kind to his or her animal. Righteousness, or godliness, encompasses care and compassion for the needs of others, whether animal or person. I believe Proverbs 12:10 applies to people, too. For the way we treat everything around us shows what is in our heart. When you see someone in need, what do you do? Do you continue on your way, like the first two men in The Good Samaritan story? Or do you stop and give of your time, possessions, and compassion, like the Samaritan did to help the beaten man on the road (Luke 10:25-37)?
Righteous people help others. This requires compassion for those around us, which means we must be humble, willing to put the needs of others above our own. It also means we must be alert, actually looking beyond ourselves to see what is happening around us (Philippians 2:4). We must be wise to know how best to help in a situation. But most importantly, we must be a people who pray (1 Chronicles 16:11, Ephesians 6:18).
Every morning, when you wake up, ask the Lord what He would have you do today, and before you leave the house, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience (Colossians 3:12). You never know when you might be the provider of the cup of kindness a person needs!