america buffalo in fieldWe hunters often get a “bad rap” because of our hobby. Many naively believe that the hunter is to blame for the dwindling populations of many threatened species in our world. On the surface, this may sound logical, but the truth is that the sportsmen have done a great deal to preserve and enhance fish and wildlife resources. Today’s regulated sports hunting has never brought a single species close to extinction. The American buffalo (bison) is a good example of how true sportsmen saved a species.

Buffalo numbered between 60-80 million animals when the Europeans first arrived in North America. By the time sportsmen were able to persuade the U.S. Congress to act toward the protection of the species, their numbers had been reduced to about 600 animals. Those “buffalo hunters” in the 1800’s who reduced the great herds to so few, were not sportsmen but actually market hunters. Today over 130,000 head of buffalo roam freely on parks and bison ranges for everyone to enjoy.

A similar argument can be made for the wild turkey, elk, and duck populations. Without the assistance of sportsmen’s organizations these species would be threatened. We can thank the sportsmen’s associations who have fostered ethical hunting and conservation. They have helped promote God’s command found in Genesis 1:28, “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

In a similar way, followers of Christ get a bad rap today for our stance against abortion, homosexuality, and other moral issues. People dub us as bigoted, unprogressive, uncaring, intolerant, and even unloving. Remember, we should hate sin, but love the sinner. We have all sinned and fall short of God’s glory. We are not to judge others but encourage them. The truth is that through Christ we love all—even the abortionists and those who promote and celebrate homosexuality. And in our love for them, we long to see them repent of their sin, receive Jesus Christ, and be reconciled with God.

In Jesus’ day, he battled the religious elite who saw themselves as being above the moral code of God. Hence, they put a bad rap on anyone who didn’t agree with them, including Jesus and all His followers. We must not give ground to those who despise the truth, suppress it, oppose it, or twist it to their own liking. Be courageous and stand up for what is right. Stand for truth!

Scripture Reading: Matthew 23

Personal Application: How do you respond when someone gives you a bad rap?  What was the attitude Christ had when the Pharisees and
Sadducees challenged Him?