A righteous person cares for the life of his animal,
but even the most compassionate acts of the wicked are cruel.
Have you ever had someone do something for you begrudgingly? I’ll not share any names, but that has happened to us a time or two. One that comes to mind was at a shower a church through for us before the birth of one of our children. Because of my position, there would often be a fair amount of people at the shower. However, there was a person who came to the shower who wasn’t my biggest fan. I’m not sure why they came. But they did, and they brought a gift, but they made it very clear that this was more an act of obligation than it was an act of kindness.
Now, I don’t necessarily want to call this person wicked. Of course I didn’t share their name – so I guess it wouldn’t hurt anything… 🙂 But, the idea is that the most compassionate acts of the wicked are cruel. To be honest, the shower would have been much more enjoyable had they not shown up. But they did for whatever reason and in their attempt to do something nice they made themselves all the more cruel. The shower would have been much better if both their presence and their presents didn’t come…
There are a couple of ways this passage could play out when it comes to the wicked.
First, it could mean that when a wicked person does something compassionate they do it in a cruel way. Second, there’s the idea that the things they seemingly do for compassion have ulterior motives that are actually cruel. You could see both of those in the situation I explained above. The compassionate act was both done in a cruel way and done with ulterior motives.
But how about the righteous person? Even the simplest of acts of a righteous person are caring. The righteous person cares for people, but even more than that they care for their animals, their land, their church, their city…A righteous person has a caring nature. The things that they do are motivated by care and good intentions. They are not motivated by evil, what they can get out of a person or situation or doing things to try and rack up points to use down the road.
So, how do you treat your pets? How do you treat your kids? How do you treat your car? How do you treat your house and property? That might tell you a lot about the kind of person you are. If you aren’t motivated in the right way, then you know where you need to focus some attention.