Anna is a pastor, writer, and theologian who obtained her BA in religion in '06, Diploma of Ministry in '16, and Diploma of Divinity in '17.
“If along the road, you come across a bird’s nest beside the road, either in a tree or on the ground, and the mother is sitting on the young or on the eggs, do not take the mother with the young. You may take the young but be sure to let the mother [fly off], so that it may go well with you and you may have a long life.”
Birds of a feather
This passage in Deuteronomy recognizes the maternal feelings of the mother bird. Taking the young from the mother would surely cause her great distress, and God, through Moses, commanded that we have pity on the birds. Jewish sage Rabbi Moses ben Maimon (Maimonides) further clarified the passage, stating that because the young wouldn’t be fit to eat, any person who came across such a nest would most certainly leave the whole thing alone. If we are to be this careful not to cause suffering to an animal, then how much more concern are we to show our fellow man?
Losing a child is any mother’s biggest fear. The passage in Deuteronomy promises a long life to any person who spared the maternal suffering of a bird. This promise is extremely similar to the fifth commandment: “Honor your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” The bond between mother and child is strong and should never be broken by outside forces. To quote Maimonides “There is no difference in this case between the pain of man and the pain of other living beings, since the love and tenderness of the mother for her young is not produced by reason, but by imagination, and this faculty exists, not only in man, but in most living beings.”
Leviticus 22:27-28 instructs us not to separate an infant animal from its mother, nor are we to slaughter the young animal with its mother on the same day. This is to prevent the mother from witnessing the slaughter of her child, an act that would cause her distress. The Old Testament made it clear that we are to show compassion to any mother, regardless of species. And if we are to prevent any animal from experiencing maternal anguish, then logically, such rules would extend to the human species. After all, are we not animals?
Do not slaughter a cow or a sheep on the same day as its young.
— Leviticus 22:28
"And a little child shall lead them."
Psalm 127:3 teaches us that children are a reward from God, while Proverbs 17:6 says that children’s children are the crown of the aged. In Mathew 18:10 Jesus explains to his followers “See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.” And finally, Luke 9:46-47 says that “An argument broke out among the disciples over which one of them would be the greatest. Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. Then he said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For the one who is least among you will be the greatest.’”
Most people who have spent any time in a Sunday school classroom are familiar with the Song “Jesus Loves the Little Children.” It’s a real simple little song saying that Jesus loves all the children of the whole world, regardless of race. All the children are precious in His sight. It’s a sweet song, reminding us that God is love. Leviticus tells us to be perfect as God is perfect. Jesus instructed us to love others because He loves us. It really is that simple. Few things on earth are black and white; yet God’s command that we love everybody is as clear cut as it can get.
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
— James 1:27
The fruit of the spirit
We call ourselves a Christian nation. Unfortunately, talk is cheap. If I call myself the Queen of England will I be allowed inside Buckingham Palace? Our words are only as good as our actions. We call ourselves Christian, yet we fail to produce the fruit of the Spirit. Jesus told us that any vine that doesn’t yield good fruit gets thrown into the fire and burned. The fruit of the Spirit is love. Where is that fruit, where is that love?
We Americans tend to use the Bible as a weapon in any debate about any social issue we’ve ever had since the beginning of the nation. Perhaps we would be better served picking up the Bible and reading it. Rather than using the words to slice through our opponents, let the word slice through ourselves. Let the Word touch us. John chapter 1 says that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Let the Word transform us. Let the Word teach us to have compassion on all of the children of the world, regardless of race. We are to love the children because God loved the children. We are to show mercy to the stranger because God showed mercy to the stranger. More importantly, God explicitly told us to love the children and show compassion to foreigners. There was no ambiguity. Those were straightforward commands.
As I write this, our government is separating mothers from their children. Politicians on both sides are using these same children as pawns. God is watching. He sees that, according to recent polls, the majority of Americans are outraged over the actions of our government. He also sees us failing to rectify the sins of our government. We are complicit in their crimes against humanity. We are accomplices to their sins against God. God did not create borders, man did that. God did not create animosity between groups based on nothing more than melanin, man did that. I say again: God is watching. Will we follow the direct commands from God and embrace these children in brotherhood, or will we continue to allow these violations against their human rights?
Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children are a reward from him, Like arrows in the hands of warrior are sons born in one's youth.
— Psalm 127:3
Questions & Answers
Question: Do you think that churches and Christian organizations should be on the border providing relief or is it solely the responsibility of the government?
Answer: The government got us into this humanitarian crisis and they're the only ones with the power to get us out of it. That said, I absolutely believe that anybody who heeds the call of Christ should be doing whatever they can to provide aid and comfort.
© 2018 Anna Watson
Jay C OBrien from Houston, TX USA on June 19, 2018:
“There is no difference in this case between the pain of man and the pain of other living beings, since the love and tenderness of the mother for her young is not produced by reason, but by imagination, and this faculty exists, not only in man, but in most living beings.”
"More importantly, God explicitly told us to love the children and show compassion to foreigners. There was no ambiguity. Those were straightforward commands."
I agree with the above. That is why I do Not believe it was Right for Joshua to kill women and children.