Work diligently to end mistreatment of children

Recently, one of my acquaintances was arrested for possessing child pornography on his computer. No sooner had that news shocked me than a mother was arrested for engaging in immoral acts with the young teen friends of her children, plying alcohol in the process. An educator was jailed for inappropriate conduct with some of the students.

How I wish these were isolated cases, but this abuse of children is far too frequent.

In forty-seven years of ministry, I have heard the confessions of the betrayal of trust when adults exposed a sexual world to children before their developing souls were capable of assimilating the experience in a healthy manner. The physical, emotional, and spiritual damage to the child is deep and enduring. Often they perpetuate the cycle of abuse, leaving others as their victims. It is my observation that hurt people hurt people.

God has placed responsible adults in a child's life as guardians of their innocence and facilitators of their potential, giving them "roots" and "wings." "Roots" is a foundation of character training so they might have stability to face the future, and "wings" describe the challenge to become the unique person God created them to be. Without the "roots" of spirituality and the "wings" of an expectation for a bright future, the younger generation will flounder without direction.

It is my observation that a civilization will ultimately be judged by its treatment of the vulnerable: the children, the sick, and the elderly. In the rise and fall of civilizations, the treatment of children is one of the great indicators that gauge the health of the culture.

When the children become sex toys for those they should be trusting to protect their innocence, the adults in their life have violated the basic principle of human existence. Psalm 127:3 said children are a heritage, a gift or reward from the Lord. When the adults have mistreated children, they will be judged for failing in their primary responsibility.

Matthew, one of Jesus' followers, described an incident (18:1-6) when Jesus called a small child out of the crowd and elevated him to godly status. He said the adults could not become a part of heaven's kingdom unless they humbled themselves like this little child. Then, in verse 6, we can almost see the fire in his eyes as Jesus gave a stern warning to any adult who would take advantage of, or harm, a child. He said it would be better for a millstone to be hung around the adult's neck and be cast into the depths of the sea than to face God in judgment over the mistreatment of a child.

When a culture is on the rise, children are one of the basic beneficiaries. Families are stable and educational systems are established to train them for adulthood.

But when a culture is on the decline, children are one of the principal victims. The Jewish prophets said one reason God was sending judgment upon that generation was because they had shed the blood of their children (Jeremiah 2:34; Ezekiel 16:35-37). In a declining culture, children are considered a bother, the unfortunate fruit of hedonism, and a byproduct of selfish sexuality.

There is hope for stopping the cycle of abuse, but it involves cleansing the wounds in the souls of adults. The Christian worldview is that Jesus took the punishment for our sins and died in our stead. Therefore by confession of sin and faith in his atonement, the sinner can be healed from the hurt of the past. The cycle of abuse can stop as heaven's forgiveness is applied as the curative salve upon the injuries of the soul.

Don't allow the past to dictate your future! Quit victimizing the children in your life!

Others can testify of the freedom of forgiveness that empowered them to forgive those who hurt them as children. Bow with them and allow God's grace to wash over you as a therapeutic tonic, enabling you to be a loving, responsible adult in whose arms children are safe.