The animal reared on its haunches making the distinctively agressive screeching bark of an angry rat. I put my hand in his cage anyway and, as he lunged at me, I deftly moved my hand to the side and snatched his tail, lifting him safely from the cage. He continued to screech as I placed him on the table until I placed my hand calmly but firmly over his back and lifted him up to observe him. He then jerked violently and bit my hand and I lost control of him. He dropped the few inches to the table, scurried away and then turned. My hand was available so he leapt at it, biteing me once again. I didn’t pull away but picked him up, cuddling him to my side as he continued to open fresh wounds on my fingers and palm. Others said I should’ve called it a day and gone to the nurse. I couldn’t.
In the media, we are often depicted as monsters, heartlessly testing on animals till they die horrible, gruesome deaths. We are seen as uncaring, cruel, ends-justify-the-means types of people. This is so untrue.
I love animals. I grew up in a world where my best friends, my only confidants were of the furry kind. And yes, the lowly rat has been incorporated into that menagerie. They are normally docile, beautiful, wonderful creatures that tend to be very friendly.
The rat on this occasion was not one of those. He was angry and hated the world. Was he motivated by fear, by past hurts, by independence, by pride? Though we, as humans, tend to think rats are beneath such high emotions and thought processes, I would venture to guess that he was experiencing all of this. So he attacked.
An animal that lashes out in this way no longer believes that the world is a safe place to be. My response to this is critical. Will I confirm his beliefs or will I show him that there is a safe place, there is love? Will I allow him to hurt me to prove that he is safe?
Romans 12:1 says that we should offer our bodies as living sacrifices – this is our true worship. Certainly we offer ourselves up to God for Him to use as He sees fit. But it is also a part of our worship to offer our bodies up as living sacrifices, as an act of worship, to the hurting and broken people around us. They need to know there is a safe place, a place of love.
We need to show them.