The last couple of days I have been thinking about poaching a lot. It seems like a very simple thing: poaching is bad. Then I think of my ancestors during the Ice Age who were starving, and I realize they didn’t have the luxury of sparing wooly mammoths to make sure there were enough to continue a population; they just needed to eat. It’s easy to criticize them from my well-fed vantage point. Sure, I’d love to see a wooly mammoth, but how much would they have loved to eat a Big Mac? Some poaching really is like that, and people engage in it just to survive. Can I judge them for that? A lot of poaching, however, is about greed and not survival. We can probably all agree that this is a brutal practice, killing rare animals for a single body part, but the people engaging in this practice are still humans with immortal souls, so we should pray for them. They often murder other humans too, so their souls are in real danger of damnation.
I like hypothetical situations, so here is one for you: imagine you are the spirit of an animal just killed by a poacher. You realize the poacher did not kill you out of necessity, so he seems very evil to you. Then you follow him to a poaching operation headquarters, where he gets into an argument over money with the head of the operation. Imagine he kills the other man. You, as the animal’s spirit, might sympathize with the killed man and hate the killer, because he killed you too. However, the killed man is also guilty because he created the operation that drew in the poacher. Both men would need prayers for their souls. Now consider that this is probably not a hypothetical situation but something that happens all the time, and you can see how prayers are desperately needed. (The animal’s perspective, that’s a long story, but many of my readers understand.) Greed is a deadly sin that can lead to destruction of God’s beautiful creation and even the murder of another human being. We should pray that the hearts of all poachers would be turned back to God, and that He would have mercy on the souls of the poachers who have already died. So as you are thinking of prayer intentions, I’d ask you to consider this one at least once a month. Thanks!