People were careless with my life and I ended up lost. ~Christine Caine
A young girl spends 12 years abused at the hands of 4 men. No great surprise that she ended up lost. Good news is, this one was rescued by the hand of God working through the lives of others. The bad news is, there are many other lives being “mishandled” all around us. How can we be better stewards of the lives of others? How can we reach out and show others that they have real value? How do we show others that the undeniable, unrelenting, unstoppable love of God is meant for them as well as it is for anyone?
A more basic question is this – how are WE handling the lives of the children all around US?
I recently began a discussion I need to soon finish with some faithful persons who are concerned about the lives of children. These children are not (we hope) being abused or neglected, but their life in God could easily be in jeopardy.
I can’t tell you how many families who are engaged in church when children are young begin to drift away as kids get more involved in sports and other activities. Church often can’t compare with those exciting events kids get to be part of – even churches that are contemporary in their focus and in their ministry. The reality for older children is that the adult stuff is too far above them and the little kid stuff is too far below. And, as a result of having no real engagement with the love, grace, and truth of God, their lives could easily move down a path that is not life-giving. We have to be careful.
In regard to abuse and neglect, if we strive to reach out and invite others to discover the love of Jesus for themselves we will, hopefully, have hurting and broken people in our midst. That includes abused and neglected children. Our interaction with them can help them see a glimpse of what they may not see in their family or in their neighborhood. How we deal with them in love and grace could be the way God works to rescue them – hopefully before they get lost. We have to be careful.
It is easy to look the other way and not give the time and attention necessary to reach and engage the children and youth in our churches and in our communities. It’s easy to hope that the crumbs of faith fall from the adult table and get picked up by the children. But, if we don’t make the effort to engage them in real ways we run the risk of doing more harm than good. We have to be careful.
NOTE: The quote at the beginning comes from an amazing conference I attended last week – Catalyst. Christine Caine was, at one time, associated with the Hillsong ministry in Australia. She is now leading a ministry to stop human trafficking. You can find information about that here: http://www.thea21campaign.org. Christine was not a victim of that sin, but she does know the pain of neglect and abuse. She also knows what it means to be rescued by the hand of God and now seeks to do that for others.
May we be so moved to act in a way God calls us.
Holy high-five to you, Mike