Considering Proverbs 12:10

A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel (Proverbs 12:10).

When this proverb was written, a lot of work was accomplished using animals, and the Old Testament laws stated that these animals should not be mistreated. For example, Deuteronomy 25:4 states that you should not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain. Let the working animal eat.

I don’t think many of us use animals for labor today, but if we have pets or farm animals, then it’s good to take care of them. This also makes me think of the awful conditions surrounding factory farming, but that’s a topic that I don’t know enough about. I do think it’s a good idea to buy from local butchers, but not everyone has the ability, and many of us have a hard time feeding our families as it is. The last thing we need is a guilt trip.

In any case, as much as it is in our power to do so, we should treat all life with respect. What really stands out is the contrast between the righteous and the wicked. The righteous take care for the lowliest of creatures, but the wicked are so ruthless that even their supposed acts of mercy are cruel.

There are many “tender mercies” of the wicked that are cruel. Some people think that is kind and merciful to promote body-altering, gender-affirming surgeries that have been proven to lead to high suicide rates. Some people think that it is kind and merciful to give women the “right to choose” to end the life of their unborn child. Some people think that it is kind and merciful to let our country become overrun by illegal immigrants. Some people think that it is kind and merciful to slaughter tens of thousands in political wars.

There are the “tender mercies” of communism and socialism, failed welfare programs that encourage single family homes and generational poverty, public school systems that fail to educate children properly and brainwash them with “tender mercy” propaganda. How many more “tender mercies” of the wicked might we think about? What about “tender mercies” of assisted suicide? What about population reduction to supposedly save the planet? The list goes on and on, and there is nothing truly tender or merciful—only cruelty.

The thing is, the wicked cannot accomplish any real good because goodness only comes from God, and they hate Him. Sometimes they might think that they are doing right, but what they think is right is what benefits them and their elite friends. They know that these “mercies” are not truly good for any of us, but they present us with lies so that they can get away with their plans. All their evils are disguised as kindness, love, justice, and so on. Thankfully, many people are aware of this.

Yet, despite all of this, let us not lose sight of the first half of this proverb. While there are many cruelties in this world, we can still take the time to show true love and kindness—even in small ways and toward those who we might be tempted to view as nothing more than a beast.

As difficult as it can be, we cannot let the corruptions of this world corrupt us. It’s hard to keep a tender and merciful heart in a time of such hatred and evil—but with the love of God within us we will make it through.

This article is part of a bible study series, Considering the Proverbs. The purpose is to consider present-day events from a Christian perspective and to offer practical lessons that we can apply to ourselves as followers of Jesus Christ.

Previous Post Within This Series: Considering Proverbs 12:8-9 – A man shall be commended according to his wisdom: but he that is of a perverse heart shall be despised. He that is despised, and hath a servant, is better than he that honoureth himself, and lacketh bread (Proverbs 12:8-9).

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