And [Jesus] took a child and put him in the midst of [the disciples], and taking him into his arms, [Jesus] says, “Whoever received one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.” (Mark 9:36-37, ESV)
Jesus loved children! Not many descriptions are given of Jesus with children, but we cannot doubt that He loved children. And He still does! He views all of us His children and He loves all of us.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. In July of 1982, the first Child Abuse Prevention Week was held. The following year, President Ronald Reagan declared April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Over 30 years later, we still recognize April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Sadly, not all share Jesus’ love of children. Instead of extending hands of love, hands are extended in anger, frustration, and hatred. Each year, there are over 3 million reports of child abuse in the United States. These reports often include more than one child, doubling the actual number of abused children. Even worse, five children die every day from abuse-related deaths. The effects of abuse on a child can last a lifetime. Approximately 14 percent of men and 36 percent of women in prison in the United States were abused as children. Abused children are also 30 percent more likely to commit violent crimes and become dependent on drugs and/or alcohol.
3 Children are a heritage from the Lord,
offspring a reward from him.
4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
5 Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their opponents in court.
(Psalms 127: 3-5, ESV)
Children are just one of the many expressions of God’s love and blessing for us. Parents are to raise their children in a manner that is pleasing to God – teaching them about Him and directing them to seek Him with all the heart, mind and soul. Children are to be loved and cherished. Children blossom as adults sharing God’s love with everyone they encounter and demonstrate God’s love through every task in which they engage. A child conceived in love! A child raised with love! Produces an adult equipped to live life that shares love planting the seeds of love that continue producing love for generation after generation.
This month, pray for all the children who suffer from abuse. Pray for the safety of all children who are abused and that they may come to find safety in Jesus Christ. Pray for the abusers, that they will change their wicked ways. Pray for understanding, that all may understand why children are so important to the Lord. What can be learned from them?
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