"Mom!! Come watch this!" my seven year old son called as I walked in the house from running an errand. "It's the Discovery Channel and they are talking about Kenya!" he exclaimed.
I sat down beside him, captivated as the words Masai Mara flashed on the screen. I nodded "Yes, this is the exact place we went for our debriefing."
We watched in awe as a pride of ferocious lions singled out a lone buffalo.
They attacked it. An amateur photographer captured the gruesome scene. As the attack ensued, the frightened, injured buffalo bellowed. The sound was unusual; it was a cry for help.
The lions were fierce and knocked the huge buffalo down, a sure sign the end would be near.
But then, there was a cloud of smoke as a large herd of buffalo arrived on the scene. They heard the cry for help, huddled to form a defensive group and charged the pride of lions.
[Pause here: I learned in Africa and just from being so smart, you don't mess with lions. They are king and the most feared predator of all. So, I'm thinking...what the heck are y'all doing? Crazy buffaloes.]
The herd of angry buffalo charged as one. The lions were so intimidated by the sheer mass and power of the group--they scattered and ran!! Immediately, the buffalo herd surrounded the injured one and began to lick his wounds.
But it didn't move. They continued to smell and nudge, lick and encourage the wounded in a defensive position.
A cheer rose up in my house when the wounded, battered buffalo moved and then STOOD UP. It limped off with the rest of herd. The camera kept rolling and caught the lion pride return, sniff the ground and leave defeated.
It's too bad that people aren't more like buffalo (a sentence I never thought I'd write).
We see others struggle, separated from the crowd and weak from their isolation. A mistake, for sure. They are attacked by the fierce predator who seeks their very soul. They cry out for help.
But unlike the buffalo, we don't always run to their defense, charge the enemy, circle around and defend. Mend the wounds, help the fallen stand again. Restore the fallen. Be Christ.
Often, we're more like lions. We turn predator when we see the weak. We attack each other, judge harshly, let jealousy reign. We turn on our own. We become mean people.
Sadly, I've seen this scenario in the Christian world far more often that I'd like to admit. I've seen it in the church, the ministry, in the blog world, even while I was in Kenya with Compassion International.
And people aren't just mean to the weak and those that have fallen, often times they are mean to people they don't agree with. I can handle honest, respectful differences in opinion. It's the ugliness that offends.
Why do we (women especially) attack our own? I'm not saying anything new here. Girls are mean to other girls. I've warned my own daughter of this fact. Perhaps it's because girls watch their mothers?
Even more disheartening are Christians who are mean.
I'm reminded of my devotion yesterday in Luke reading about the Sadducees attacking Jesus for healing a crippled woman on the Sabbath. He's like "Would you rather her suffer than follow your dumb rules?" When we demand perfection from people, we become legalistic. God uses imperfect people who mess up!
Maybe mean people feel justified. Perhaps they feel like they are sounding an alarm or actually helping. Or perhaps they are like the lions, just going in for the kill?
I don't know if this post is about the mean people (lions) who attack or the united group that defends the wounded (buffalo).
I just know which group I want to be a part of. How about you?
*photos by Keely Marie Scott from our time in Africa