Saturday, March 17, 2012

Why Protect Children

I recently came across this reflection I wrote two years ago for a Child Protection newsletter. I pray that this will encourage us all to continue taking part and doing our share in keeping children around us safe and cared for at all times.

“Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.”
- Bob Pierce, founder of World Vision

Currently, children comprise more than forty percent of the country’s population. In every home, it’s typical to find at least one child – someone below the age of 18. 

Sadly, cases of abuse and violence committed against children continue to rise and one doesn’t need to look farther. The UN Study on Violence Against Children tells us that children can be unsafe in the home, on the street, at school – wherever they go. The study’s central message, “No violence against children is justifiable and all forms of violence is preventable,” calls for more deliberate and proactive efforts to keep children safe.

For Christians, taking part in the work to protect children goes beyond being duty-bearers (these are people who have the responsibility to protect and promote the rights of children). It is one concrete way of giving utmost importance to things that matter to God. 

Our efforts to ensure children’s development should always be coupled with our commitment to protect them. God gave a strong warning against anyone who harms the children: he/she would be better off thrown into the deepest part of the ocean with a heavy stone tied around his/her neck. Intense as this may sound, we believe that children—so precious to God, deserve the best care we can give. We should make every effort to create a safe and enabling environment for children’s total growth.

As we engage in God’s ministry to children, at the heart of our work should be the desire for fullness of life for every child - as God intends. Definitely, a child being abused or violated is not part of God’s intention. 

God believes in children. The Bible tells us of stories about girls and boys called by God to fulfill His purposes—the young king Josiah did what was pleasing in God’s sight; Joseph corrected the sins of his father; David was a young man who mightily fought a giant and a lion—faith being his powerful weapon; Mary, the teenager courageously submitted to the will of God, though not having a complete understanding of what she was up to; and the boy who generously gave his two fishes and five loaves of bread so Jesus could feed more than five thousand people.

These stories and many others speak of God’s belief in children and their essential roles in the fulfillment of God’s plan. In partnership with God, children can effect transformation if they are given the space and the opportunity for meaningful contributions.

God places high value on children. A child is of no less in worth than an adult, having been created in the image and likeness of God. Children are a gift from God and those who have children under their care or influence are called to be good stewards of these gifts.

God has a plan for every child. He invites us to take part in His work of fulfilling those plans. Child protection work springs from a heart that gets broken by the things that break the heart of God.

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