Dear Dr. Graham
Does the Bible say anything about cruelty to animals? We have a neighbor who doesn’t take care of his pets very well. I wouldn’t call it cruelty but I don’t want to tell him how to run his life. I wonder if what he is doing wrong. — Mrs. G. P.
Dear Mrs. G.P.:
God is concerned about the way we treat animals, especially those which are dependent on us. The Bible says, “A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal…” (Proverbs 12:10)
One reason is because God created the animals, and on the day he created them “…God saw that it was good” (Genesis 1:25). Should we ignore or treat cruelly what God calls good? Of course not. A person who neglects or is cruel to animals is probably going to be insensitive about everything else also — including other people. (Sometimes the opposite can be the case; unfortunately. I have seen some people treat their dogs or other pets with more concern than they show to their spouses or children.)
If you have an opportunity gentle suggest to your neighbor that you hope he can give more attention to his animals. Pray for him, that he will realize he needs to allow God’s love to flood his heart. It can happen, as he gives his life to Christ, who will make him a better person.
Make sure of you own commitment to also, and ask him to help you be the kind of neighbor you should be. God’s priorities are clear: “…Love the Lord your God.. Love you neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39).