Who Will Save The Children? Part 2 of 2

Posted: November 20, 2015 in Christian Living, Music & Videos, Saving Children
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“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matthew 18:6 KJV)

Child abuse can take a number of forms—physical, verbal, emotional, psychological, sexual, etc. But any form of abuse is opposed to the ruling principle of God’s kingdom—unselfish love.

An abusive person does not know love and does not know God. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:7, 8)

Biblical doctrines are designed to support the caring of the most vulnerable among us—children. Sadly, however, it’s not uncommon for adults to justify child abuse and neglect with religious church doctrines.

Many of these believers are fond of quoting Scriptures to justify their abuse—particularly the verse in Proverbs 13:24 that says, “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.” But in Hebrew, the word translated as “rod” is the same word used in Psalms 23:4, “thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.” The shepherd’s rod was used to guide the sheep, not to beat them with it.

So what the writer of Proverbs was actually saying was, “He who refuses to GUIDE his children, hates them.” The point of discipline is to transmit values to children. The purpose of punishment is to coerce compliance, to control and to exact revenge. To inflict pain as a form of revenge, is something that the Bible says belongs to God alone.

There are only a few places that “rod” is possibly referring to a literal rod in connection with hitting someone. First let us look at Exodus 21:20: “And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished.

This Scripture in Exodus says that if this rod were used on a maid or servant and killed them that it was punishable. So, one can see that it had to be a heavy duty instrument capable of killing someone which would be consistent with the idea of a staff or club. If it is ok to spank a child using this instrument, then it is not mentioned here and if it were, then the child could die by its use.

2014 Children’s Advocacy Center Statistics Highlights 

Among the over 315,000 children served by Children’s Advocacy Centers around the country in 2014, some startling statistics include:

• 116,940 children were ages 0 to 6 years

• 115,959 children were ages 7 to 12 years

• 81,025 children were ages 13 to 18 years

• 205,438 children reported sexual abuse

• 60,897 children reported physical abuse

• 211,831 children participated in on-site forensic interviewing

http://www.nationalchildrensalliance.org/sites/default/files/download-files/2014NationalAnnual_0.pdf

If these statistics represented a contagious disease like Ebola, the CDC would declare it an epidemic! And yet very little is being done to protect children who suffer from child abuse.

Why do people struggle to report child abuse?

The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 13:4: “For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good.” This clearly indicates that the central purpose of a civil government is to do good. If that is the case, can there be any greater good carried out by a civil government than to punish those who violate laws designed to protect society’s most vulnerable members?

All 50 states have laws that mandate its citizens to report suspected neglect or abuse of children. Violation of these laws not only fails to protect children, but also enables the perpetrator to avoid criminal prosecution and encourages them to continue abusing children.

Besides biblical and legal grounds for reporting suspected abuse to authorities, there are also practical reasons to do so. The government has the authority to remove children from parents or guardians who are inflicting physical harm to children. However, this can’t happen if the authorities are not notified of the suspected maltreatment.

Oftentimes, a child’s very survival is dependent upon whether we take the initiative and report it. There should be little debate within the Christian community that the protection and survival of children is a God ordained responsibility that we cannot neglect or excuse.

Why do some churches and Christian organizations seem to struggle with reporting the suspected abuse of a child? It is the fear or unwillingness to get involved, or fear of angering the family. Some believe that someone else will speak up and do something.

But at the heart of the struggle is a fear that is rooted in the need to self-protect. It is a fear of losing the good reputation of a ministry, or the fear of losing ministry donors, or the fear of losing respect from congregation members, (What will they think of me if I’m wrong?) or the fear of losing a ministry altogether.

All of these fears have nothing to do with the ministry or Jesus. It is all about protecting self. The Gospel tells Christians that our identity is in Christ alone, and that our reputation and all that we possess belongs to him.

From God’s perspective, this liberates us to sacrifice personal and institutional reputations if doing so protects and preserves the lives of His little ones. Isn’t that what Jesus did for us? He sacrificed his reputation, his supporters, his ministry, and even his very own life in order to protect and redeem us. This should drive us to do the same regardless of the consequences to our church, our ministry, or our reputation, in order to protect children.

The next time someone tells you that reporting suspected abuse of children may  lead to more personal hurt and damage your reputation, tell them that our reputation is only damaged when we turn away and leave grievous sins alone in the darkness of silence.

If you suspect that a child is a victim of abuse or neglect you should report your concerns to your local child protective services agency. (CPS) Even if you are unsure of whether the child’s situation has already been reported to  CPS. Refer to What Should I Know about Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect?

Find other helpful links at: http://www.childrensadvocacycenter.org/links.cfm

 

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