Matthew 18:1-7 (New Living Translation)
1 About that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?”
2 Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. 3 Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. 4 So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.
5 “And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me. 6 But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.
7 “What sorrow awaits the world, because it tempts people to sin. Temptations are inevitable, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting.
If you have children, you have been truly blessed. Although they may provide a certain amount of stress from time to time, they are your most cherished gift from God. I dare say we would do anything and sacrifice everything for our children. They are our hope and our joy, and more precious to us than life itself.
This past weekend the Holy Spirit worked overtime with me, revealing a number of things that concern children that are oppressed in our world today. One story that was called to my attention was a series of programs that were aired on Halogen TV over the weekend. The programs featured the "Invisible Children"(If you haven't heard of them, your teenagers may have in their youth group in church). Although I had heard mention of this situation before, this program was the first time I had been truly informed about this horrific situation.
The programs told about how a warlord in East Africa, Joseph Kony, has spent 23 years fighting against the Ugandan government; not with soldiers and a military fighting force, but with kidnapped and abused children that he has turned into his child soldiers. He has turned innocent boys as young 5 years of age into his killers. During the process of indoctrination, if any child resisted or rose up against their oppressors, they were immediately killed and made into spectacle to coerce, intimidate and brainwash other children into serving this maniac. Ironically, he called this army the "Lord's Resistance Army".
The programs followed the struggle of the children of East Africa to avoid being kidnapped and how at one time there were massive nightly commutes of thousands of children from the villages into the cities, where they would cram together in any shelter they could find in which to sleep. The most poignant part of one program was an interview with a boy as he recalled the murder of his brother. Anyone watching would be moved to tears watching him weep deeply because of this great loss. Later, a friend asks the film maker to not forget them once the camera was turned off, and to keep the film so that others could see and hear their story. Although at one time this problem was strictly in Uganda, and their had been some progress towards peace, the LRA has now become active in 5 other African nations, and this murderous abuse continues on.
Too often in an unbelieving world children bear the brunt of the abuse, exploitation, neglect, starvation, and murder that is purportrated on society today. By the grace of God, most of us have been spared from this horror, but we do need to be aware that everyday children in our world need our help. In the verse above we read how Jesus valued children and encouraged us to take on the innocent, humble and trusting character of a child to be able to embrace the salvation message. Jesus also gives a warning and in that warning we know that someday there will be justice for those who harm children, but in the meantime, we have to do all we can to impact the children that need our help.
There are many ministries focused on helping the less fortunate children of the world, and some of them are linked to this blog. Become involved today and start making a difference in a child's life.