I rescued an ant today. I noticed that a spider web had trapped its left leg and it was hanging upside down. This ant was having a hard time, wiggling and worming in an invisible thread. I spent three minutes of my time untangling the little fellow. It fell down on its back, and I took some time to turn it back over on its belly. I watched as it crawled away. The poor thing clearly had an off day.
Ironically, two hours before, I had kicked an ant off my balcony after I had caught it in my kitchen. It was drinking from a little pool of water on my kitchen sink and I had been annoyed by its presence. So, I judged it worthy of exile, if not death. I took it outside, I flung it, and it went flying. I did not think of nor care for where it would land.
The contrast in the way I treated these two God-created animals startled me. Why did I show compassion for one ant while being uncaring for the other?
Perhaps I felt that I understood the second ant. And so, I treated it with empathy. (Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.) Was I wrong to sit on the judgment seat and judge which ant was suffering more and deserved my mercy and compassion, and which ant deserved death? Did I judge who was worthy of my compassion and care by how much the other party did or did not resonate with me and the experiences of my own life? Or did I show mercy to the second ant because I had just come from spending time with God, and I may have reflected his heart more in my second, more gracious judgment?
I have got to discuss this with the Creator.