Pastor Dr. T Valson Abraham
Founder/President India Gospel Outreach
Director India Bible College & Seminary
Jesus Christ came into the world as a helpless child. That says everything about the importance of children to God and the importance they should have for us. During His ministry, Jesus attracted children, and He enjoyed their company. He exploded with indignation when His disciples treated children as pests and drove them away.
He told His disciples in Mark 10:14-15 New Living Translation (NLT) When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it”.
In other words, a child’s simple trust and humility become the model for all of us, whatever our age and station in life. To use a child for one’s own purpose and agenda, however good and right we think it is, is a desecration of God’s creation and rebellion against God.
All children have the right to approach Jesus Christ in simplicity and humility. At the root of all child abuse and violation of children’s rights is a violation of Jesus’ command, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”
Children especially have the right to hear and see Jesus in their own parents. It is understandable how non-Christian parents would ignore this. But do we believers, including pastors, evangelists and church leaders, inadvertently quench the Holy Spirit in our children and withhold them from vital relationships with Christ?
Parents have high expectations for their children, but do our noble expectations match gifts and personalities God has given them? Do we frustrate our children’s walk with Christ by creating doubts in their minds about whom God made them to be?
Do our own lives reflect childlike humility that Jesus praises? A child instinctively feels the crush of parental pride even if they have no words for it. Children know we aren’t perfect. Do we willingly admit when we are wrong? Do we model humble and repentant attitudes so they more easily reflect the same before their heavenly Father? Or do we inadvertently crush the simple humility and trust that Jesus praises?
If you want to test your humility, ask your children, especially your older ones, about your mistakes in raising them. Let them speak without intimidation or interruption. Be sure to ask forgiveness of them and of God. It will bring healing to all.
Do your children often see you pray, read your Bible and apply what you have read? Do they hear you pray for great things? Do you speak to your children of your faith, including your struggles and doubts? Your children may not understand all your faith struggles, but do you try to communicate in ways that will encourage them when they inevitably ask hard questions?
Do you understand the Bible so well that you regularly teach your children the great doctrines with simplicity and accuracy? Children have strong spiritual instincts, and they absorb great truths if taught on their level. Some of our best prayer warriors are young children.
If you teach a child just 15 minutes a day in the things of the Lord, you will give them the equivalent of half a Master of Divinity degree by the time they graduate from high school. You will also give them valuable lessons of life and faith that can never be measured in time.
As believers in Christ, we do well to stand for the rights of children forced to work, sell their bodies and sacrifice their educations and futures for adults who view them as commodities or extensions of themselves. Standing for children’s rights is the way of Jesus, and it also opens receptive young lives to the Good News.
While we defend their rights, let us not hinder our own children’s walks with God. God will heal us when we repent of our failures in raising them. In so doing, we will speak of children’s rights with greater authority and bear more fruit.
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Father God, thank you for the gift of children, both our own and the children of others. Thank you for instructing us in your ways through their simple trust and humility. Give us wisdom and love to value them in the same way you value them, so that we may raise our own children according to your will and serve those children in our society who suffer contempt and abuse. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.