Sly. Crafty. Nuisance. How did the red fox get such a bad rap?
He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will keep on driving out demons and healing people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’Luke 13:32
An Animal with a Bad Rap
“Pull over,” I exclaimed.
“What do you see?” Pedro asked as he pulled into a wide spot next to the road.
“Nothing, yet,” I told him, “but people with cameras are heading that way.”
We jumped out of our van and followed the crowd along one of Yellowstone National Park’s lesser trafficked roads.
“A fox,” he said, spotting the animal first. We watched as a gorgeous red fox trotted across the road and started hunting in the verge. I snapped photo after photo as the fox went about his business while a growing group of paparazzi followed along. As he crossed the road, he seemed to wink at the ruckus he caused.
I could see why foxes have a bad rap. They look the part of a crafty creature. Even Jesus used the fox as a metaphor for sly, deceitful behavior when he called Herod a fox in Luke 13:32. Jesus didn’t seem to disparage foxes, he mentions them again in Matthew 8:20 and Luke 9:58. By calling Herod a ‘sly fox,’ Jesus simply uses a vernacular term. Evidently foxes have had a bad rap for millennia.
Just because a fox has a certain look in its eye doesn’t mean it deserves a bad rap. God created foxes with brains and personality. A farmer might rail at a fox who gets into his henhouse, but he shouldn’t blame the fox for his own forgetfulness or lack of planning when building the coop.
In the 18th and 19th century, wealthy Englishmen and Americans bred dogs and horses especially suited to fox hunting. The dogs, horses, and riders needed exceptional endurance to track and chase a fox for dozens of miles over varied terrain.
A red fox uses scent-cover skills to evade predators—back tracking, going through water, or crawling through tunnels dogs can’t enter. Fox hunters considered a contest of wills with a red fox the epitome of great sport. No one asked the red fox what he thought.
Foxes use their big ears, sense of smell, and brains to survive. Just because they have a certain look and above average intelligence doesn’t mean they deserve their bad rap.
Who else has an undeserved bad rap in your world? Lawyers? Politicians? Black men? Prostitutes? Remember who Jesus hung out with.
Father God, help me to do the hard work of self-examination for bias. Help me to hunt for and purge from my thoughts unfair views of people. Show me how to treat everyone with the love you have shown me.