I was watching a documentary where a reporter was going to meet people who had managed to train dangerous animals, and the one who interested me the most was an old cowboy called RC Bridges. Now RC had trained a Buffalo called Wildthing since it was young. At first Wildthing would try to attack him every day, but RC would act as if nothing was happening, and eventually Wildthing gave up. Amazingly, RC was able to establish himself as the alpha male, largely through psychological means. For example, Wildthing will spend hours trying to lift up the metal fence surrounding him, and then RC will come along with the key, so Wildthing thinks he’s really strong. He will even look at him and think, “wow”. RC will hold him by the horn and Wildthing thinks he really has him.
What is the most amazing thing to behold however, is that Wildthing will even enter RC’s home. And when he does, this huge animal that is so rough and wild outside becomes incredibly gentle. While in the house he doesn’t knock anything over, as if on tip-toes and he will even go outside to urinate.
When asked how he managed to house train a Buffalo, RC replied that he didn’t, and that he doesn’t know how he would even begin to house train him. “What you have to understand”, says RC, is that Wildthing knows that everything I do is for him, to protect him and bring him happiness, and I never do anything against him.”
A wild and aggressive creature is made gentle, not through force or control, but through love. We are all Wildthing. When we enter into a relationship with Jesus, we do not find a master who forces us to change or threatens us with punishment. God’s love and care for us comes as a gift, that we can neither earn nor deserve. He saves us in his mercy because he so desires to, not because of anything we have done ourselves. And it’s recognizing and receiving this great love that defies understanding that makes us gentle and peaceful in spirit, which is very pleasing in the Lord’s sight.
And this is how we are to love others, to often ignore and overlook the insults, as hard as that can be, to repay evil with kindness, not to force or threaten, but to trust in God’s love to change a heart, as only he can.