5 Ways Christians Can Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect

Child abuse and neglect is a disgrace to our nation. Even worse – many Christians are unaware of the issue. I believe that churches should be leading the way.

Sunday, April 29, 2007 was designated as National Blue Sunday. This was a day set aside for churches to pray for the victims of child abuse. As believers it should break our hearts when children suffer. We must recognize that God values children. The Bible says, “Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.” (Psalm 127:3) Kids matter to God. We must affirm that little ones are God’s gift to us. Christians should be the first ones to stand against child abuse. We must defend children and work for real change.

The love of Christ compels us to think biblically about child abuse and neglect. Our world is broken. Humanity has rejected God’s rule. Many people live only to please themselves. In such a world of sin children often become the victims. The same evil that causes child abuse lives within our hearts. Without God’s grace we might be the abusers. The only cure for the sin and evil of this world is the Gospel. Jesus alone has the power to change hearts. At his final appearing Christ will restore all things. The world will be made right and children will no longer suffer at the hands of their own parents.

As Christians we should feel great sadness about child abuse. But we should also look for ways to help. How then can you respond to child abuse? Here are some ideas:

5 Ways Christians Can Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect

  1. Educate yourself. Find information to equip yourself to recognize and prevent child abuse. Find statistics, read real stories, learn about local case law and read articles about child abuse. Find resources.
  2. Be aware of at-risk kids. Become involved in the lives of children. If something seems wrong – question the parent and make a report to our local Child Protective Service.
  3. Become foster or adoptive parents. There is a great need for families willing to open their homes to kids in crisis. Getting involved means opening your home.
  4. Train your own children. We must model and teach our children what it means to be a godly parent. Teach your boys to cherish and protect women. Encourage your girls to develop their God-given maternal nature.
  5. Pray. I place this last because its importance cannot be overstated. There are times when a child’s only defender is God. Remember to prayer for the little ones. You can pray for children that you know. Pray for the children that live on your street. When you see a parent being harsh in the grocery store – ask God to convert that parent. “Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)


Comments

  1. says

    Thanks for everyone’s honest input, but I think it’s getting a little heated. I am going to close comments on this post.

  2. says

    I’ve found that the person that has to resort to personal attacks and insults, or looses his/her temper, typically looses the debate. And yes, that’s based on my faith so you don’t have to accept it.

    Michael,
    While I disagree with much of what you said in your last post you did make two REALLY good points. I’d like to underscore them to my fellow Children’s ministry workers here.

    As Christians we sometimes make statements that we are not prepared to back up with evidence. That is unnecessary. While it’s true that some of our arguments may be beyond our kids understanding we should try our best to give them reasons for their beliefs. Otherwise their belief is just based on faith and what if that faith is placed on the wrong thing. So Michael gave us a good reminder to make sure that we “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,” 1 Peter 3:15

    Michael’s other excellent point is that its wrong to tell your kids WHAT to think without teaching them HOW to think. Critical thinking skills are the only way they’ll be able to sort through all the messages that they’ll have to deal with in the teen and young adult years to find right and wrong. When I do Bible studies with kids I like to say, “I could tell you the answers but then what would happen when I’m not around? I’d rather teach you how to figure out the answers for yourself.”

    Unfortunately I haven’t seen that very many schools, public or privet, really teach HOW to think, they just teach kids what to think which is based on the beliefs of the institution. Christians are in a unique place to teach our kids HOW to think because we don’t have to fear truth.

    By the way, if you intentionally teach a Christian world view you will end up giving evidence and also teaching the kids how to think. If you leave world view up to chance they’ll likely just absorb their parents actions without really having the tools to examine it and that leads either to legalism or to a denial of the faith.

  3. Michael says

    I love the self-adulation group you’ve formed here. The blind acceptance must be wonderful. Ignorance apparently IS bliss.

    Do you know what really upsets me? When people assume things from my statements that are nowhere to be found there. If you had read what I wrote, trying as hard as you could to put aside your bias, you would have noticed that I did imply my upbringing was a Christian upbringing. So I have experienced the faith. I experienced it for twenty years. And then, as I said in my previous post, I was awakened from my dogmatic slumber. I began to see that, while I was told many things throughout my life, and told that those things were the truth, I wasn’t presented with any evidence of that truth. I was just told to accept it.

    This is what I’m railing against. The idea that you can say something IS TRUE, and that the mere saying of it MAKES IT TRUE. What is lacking, as I have repeated ad nauseam, is EVIDENCE. And this is the problem I have with raising children in the faith. You can tell them your opinions, but if you have nothing concrete to back up you ideas, you must TELL THEM SO. You cannot say you are sure when you are not, by definition, sure.

    Secularism–which I have not actually endorsed, since I endorse nothing that is so institutionalized as to be able to name itself–actually admits when it doesn’t know. It doesn’t resort to faulty harmonization (e.g., Judas hung himself from a tree overlooking the Field of Blood so that the branch from which he was hanging broke, sending his already lifeless corpse to earth which caused it to split open, thus “harmonizing” the gospel account of his suicide with the account in Acts.) or self-referentialism (DeCartes ontological argument: God is perfect. Implied in the definition of perfection is existence. Therefore God exists.). It doesn’t put “God in the Gaps.” If a secularist has no answer, the secularist (in general) admits that he/she has no answer.

    Children observe. So of course, Uncle Steve, they will pick up what you do and say. It IS impossible to raise children without them picking some of these things up and accepting them as the truth without question. So why would you then actively SEEK OUT unproven–or unprovable–ideas with which to indoctrinate them? Many secularists, humanists, even atheists raise their children without resorting to such tactics. They answer their children with an “I don’t know” as often as it is true. The child is then free to make up his/her own mind once he/she has lived a bit, consulted the evidence, and reflected.

    Why is it that parents think training a child in WHAT to think is better than training them in HOW to think? This is akin to the famous saying “If you give a man a fish he’ll eat for a day. But if you TEACH him how to fish, he’ll eat for a lifetime.” Raising a child to have your personal worldview is just giving them a fish. One day, unless they stay put in the cozy fish farm you’ve constructed, they will find themselves alone, with nary a fish nor a rod with which to catch one. What will they do then?

    Atheism and secularism are actually NOT religions. Religious people like to say they are in order to put up a straw man and knock it senseless. But I have yet to see it argued successfully. Once again, sadly: saying a thing is so does not make it so. One must have proof.

    Uncle Steve has found god to be real and active. I have not. Who is right? Well, sorry to say, the burden of proof is on the believer as to whether god exists or not. It is not up to me to prove there is no god. In fact, it can’t be done with complete certainty. But you can’t just leave it at that. I am satisfied not to know. You, however, say that you DO know. If you know that you know that you know (see, told you I was raised in the church), then it shouldn’t be difficult for you to come up with some testable hypotheses to show you are correct.

    Glad you have faith and friendship. You also have a brain that, as far as studies show, is the most amazing hallucination machine ever arrived at by the blind process of evolution. It is said that a large portion of what we see is MADE UP by our brain to fill in the gaps of our vision. So it could be that what you’ve experienced is something you’ve convinced yourself is true. If it makes your life feel good, so much the better. But don’t decide for your child that it will do the same for him/her.

    You can show a child they are loved by YOU without lying to them about the FACT of god. You can show them they are special. You can teach them to value themselves by teaching them to value who they actually are instead of teaching them to deny their own physiology. You can teach them to understand that even though their actual father (you know, the fellow with the dna who is married to their mother) may let them down, that he loves them and only lets them down because people can’t be perfect. If you tell them god will never let them down, you are teaching them to let god handle everything. You are not teaching them the skills to survive that even a “lowly” rat can teach her offspring.

    I may sound silly. But I only sound silly to you. To a reasonable person you sound MORE than silly.

    You sound like scared little children.

  4. says

    It is impossible to bring up a child without prejudicing them to any worldview. Therefore teaching a child your religion is NOT in any way abuse. It is, in fact unavoidable.

    If you raise them secular then you are giving them a secular world view or as a previous poster put it, “deciding for children what they believe before they’ve had a chance to make up their own minds through careful consideration and examination of the evidence.”

    If you raise them Christian then you are giving them the Christian world view.

    Since a parent cannot avoid training their child’s world view, then he/she must decide which worldview is best for his/her child and go with it. Secularism and atheism are NOT non-religious, they are just a different kind of religion.

    Personally I’ve found God to be real and active in my life and have experienced such deep love from Him that I feel that the best gift I can give my child is a Christian world view. For me Christianity is more than just a religion it is a faith and a friendship! :-)

    I hope you can experience that love and friendship someday

  5. anonymous says

    Do you know what really upsets me is when people who have never experienced it judge a faith as a religion.
    Bringing up children to know they are loved, special and never alone is not abuse. Teaching them to value themselves and that they are worthy of love is not abuse. Introducing to a Father figure who never lets you down is not abuse. Even when bad things happen in this world, showing your child that there is someone they can cling to in the face of everything else, someone who will never walk away in their time of need, is not child abuse. And this is the same for many of the main religions.
    And you’re right, it is up to the child to decide – but have can you make a decision without seeing all the facts? And surely, whatever you may think of any religion, you do believe in love? and being loved? and making sure that others feel that love too?
    you sound so silly – maybe you should learn the meaning of selfless love before you preach…
    ps. love you :)

  6. Michael says

    While I agree that what has been discussed is horrible, I find it funny that all of this is being bandied about when abuse goes on every day in the name of your religion. I’m not talking about priests sexually abusing children. I’m talking about deciding for children what they believe before they’ve had a chance to make up their own minds through careful consideration and examination of the evidence.

    It is wrong to teach children the tenets of your religion as though they are proven facts when there is no credible evidence to that effect. This causes a traumatic tearing of the mind that is inescapeable and crippling even years after leaving the faith. You can leave the church, change your beliefs and your ideals, your ethics and morals, but the way your mind is formed as a child is the way your mind WANTS to work. To allow a child’s mind to form under these circumstances is the same as raising them in The Matrix. Let me tell you: once you take the red pill and discover reality, you then become aware of everything you never learned while you were learning about the bible etc. Deficiencies begin to crop up, then flood in. And slowly the realization hits: I will never fully be a part of life or the society that I live in. Because I was raised in a fairy tale. It is as though my parents chopped off my arms and legs as soon as I was born, but everyone expects me to function normally without them and will tolerate no excuses.

    It’s okay for adults to believe in whatever they want (as long as it doesn’t directly effect anyone else in a negative way). I work in a library, and believe me, people are always looking up books about Wicca and astrology. In the 21st century. Just as many seek out books about Christianity, Islam, etc. And we do not discriminate, nor do we deny library use or make fun of people for requesting these materials. We encourage free inquiry. To think as one will seems to be one of the primary desires of everyone, and I support that. But to raise your kids in such a delusional state is as bad as raising them naked in your basement. They have no choice. They have not formed their own ideas or seen the world enough to think for themselves.

    And then these ideas–which I must reiterate have no basis in fact–are introduced when the child is at his/her most defenseless, when they can’t differentiate between a myth, a fairy tale and the bible. In the face of so much overwhelming evidence to the contrary, it’s appalling that parents will be so quick to talk about someone hitting their daughter or molesting their son in the terms you use here, but cannot recognize what they are doing to their children by themselves.

    This is, of course, because the parents are too afraid to let go of their crutch and face reality, too scared not to have “the answers” that they will grasp at anything that makes them feel better rather than struggle and search for something that is a more accurate reflection of reality. So when evidence piles up against their beliefs they must reject it–no matter how compelling it may be–in favor of their own beliefs. This leads to people supporting erroneous ideas like Intelligent Design because they can’t stomach the thought that we, and ALL THE OTHER ANIMALS (yes, I said the OTHER animals, because that’s what we are, and it is not an insult) are alone here and know nothing.

    When it comes down to it, the only argument religious people have is faith, which is to say they can simply smirk and defer to their right to believe whatever they want, leaving silent those of us who are reasonable, who don’t accept things without scrutiny, BECAUSE FAITH IS NOT AN ARGUMENT. It’s actually the complete LACK of an argument. It’s akin to the child who answers “BECAUSE” to the question “WHY?” when they have nothing of substance to add.

    I know that it will be difficult to get anyone to hear my thoughts about this or to get anyone to listen at all, since over 90% of the world believes in god (without TRUE evidence–which I clarify in order to avoid the argument that “love” or “beauty” or nature are evidence for god, since these are circular arguments meant to confound the listener into believing that the speaker has come up with a crushing and indisputable reply, when in reality these “arguments” are more than flimsy and completely based on definitions that have no absolute meaning but must be agreed upon prior to the discussion). But as a victim of the abuse religion engenders I cannot sit by any longer without speaking my mind and my experience. It is not yet accepted that any of this is abuse, and I do not support a legislative solution (not that one would be offered), as I believe personal responsibility in this matter to be of paramount importance. But as we look back on the past practices of many people as barbaric and horrific, so too will people in the future look back on our religions as so much archaic nonsense. At least that is my hope.

    Life is difficult and we are in it together. We must help each other through it. But there is no need to invent answers to questions our ancestors invented millenia ago. Why are we here? I don’t know. What is life and what does it mean? I don’t know. What is right and what is wrong? I don’t know. IS THERE SUCH A THING AS RIGHT AND WRONG? You don’t know any more than I do. And no amount of saying “Yes, I DO!” will make it so. We are here and we must make sense of life if for no other reason than to satisfy our prodigious curiosity. But we must not invent our answers. If they exist we must find them through careful and responsible inquiry, struggle and exploration. It may satisfy our anxiety to make up an answer if that is all we require. Some of us are content not to know rather than to memorize the creations of others.

    Perhaps you should ask yourself why you need these beliefs. Perhaps you should stop defending the victims of the abuse you were so quick to judge and take a look at the log in your own eye. Simply raising these children in your religion IS abuse, whether it is acknowledged or not, and the young victims who are going undefended will live with this for the rest of their lives without anyone to tell them why.

  7. SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY IS GUILTY says

    In Stockton,CA my son was abused. He was burnt with a glass drug pipe four times intentionally. His mother didnt even call the police or take him to the doctor. Supposedly this was done by his mothers boyfriend. When i found out I made a police report and reported it to CPS and CASA. They wont do anything about it! They say that they cannot tell the abuser to stay away from my son. What are they here for again? What’s really going on?

  8. Anonymous says

    Monsieur Rupert I don’t think that YOU are entirely telling the truth. See CASA is supposed to be on the child’s behalf, correct? Well, let me tell you something. CASA is not on the child’s behalf in this case. In fact let me ask you something WWJD? I would hope that you would know what this means. If the CASA worker in this case really cares about the children then she would see to it they are placed with their mother who has never abused the children. I know from visually seeing that the father to the little girl in this case left her in the car with no AC on. Would this not be considered child abuse? The father endangered the child’s life. I know a lot of abuse as I have experienced abuse. I have been abused by people off and on since I was three years old. The children in this case, at least one of them, is being abused by the paternal grandmother as well by the father. The child is almost three years old and is still in diapers. A lot of toddlers that age are either potty trained or just starting and done within about six months. Some even start at eighteen months old. It depends on the child. If the child is showing signs that he/she is ready for potty training then that is when you start to get rid of the diaper. Since the child is not being potty trained, to my knowledge, the child’s developmental needs are not being met, and I hate to say it but THAT IS CHILD ABUSE! The child has come up with a number of bruises that are not from falling on an object because they don’t even look it. I know this for a fact. A child gets hurt when the parent is not watching the child carefully, is that not right? If you ask a child where he/she got the bruise and they say that their grandmother or their father did it. A lot of the times the child is not lying. I also know the signs of childhood depression and this child is very depressed she has been since CPS took her. She doesn’t hardly even know her own brother because they separated them after saying they wouldn’t. In this case is CPS and CASA really DOING WHAT’S BEST FOR THE CHILD? I don’t think so.

  9. Cindy says

    Even though toleration for lying in court is not allowed, it does happen and supervisors stand behind their caseworkers. It has happened to us. We are dealing with one of the most corrupt CPS and CASA offices I’ve heard of. CASA has sided with CPS and they are working together as a team. You say CASA doesn’t side with anyone that they a merely a voice for the child. What about when the child expresses their desire to be with the mother and the father is the one who hurt them and CPS does nothing about it?
    Exaggerating the truth is the same thing as lying. You’re still not telling only the truth. What has happened in our case is not a simple exaggeration. It is a bold faced lie and CPS and CASA know it. They’ve been told the truth but yet refuse to correct their information. There is no accountability with this organization. They do what they want regardless of who it hurts. In this case the state and parents don’t agree because the state doesn’t want to admit they were wrong.
    I believe the state is required to abide by a court order when given to them by a judge, right? Well, this office has not. Again, they’ve done whatever they want to do. It was ordered that the parents involved had to finish their services ordered by the court before they could get the children returned. The two fathers had not finished their services when they got their child. One of them, the one abusing my granddaughter, refused services and it was stated in the papers, “He discharged himself against clinical advice” and he needed to sort out his anger issues in counseling. That never happened and he still has his daughter. I believe if I had done something like that, disobelyed a court order, I would have been found in contempt of court. Where is the accountability when CPS or CASA has disobeyed a court order? See, my daughter finished ALL of her services and has proof of such and they refuse to give them to her. There is nothing else for her to do. Her attorney has even told her there is nothing else she has to do for reunification.
    I think there is a serious issue here that needs to be addressed in the system. There needs to be accountability and a balance of power, just as there is for congress, the President, and any other political or government agency.
    Now, maybe these things don’t happen in your office, Mr. Rupert, but it is happening alot in the office we have to deal with and it’s happening to more families than just us.

  10. Rupert says

    Cindy,
    I am very sorry to hear of your situation.

    I have been a director for a CASA program for about 5 years. I can assure you we would never tolerate a volunteer or staff member lying in court.
    But I have witnessed state agencies exaggerating the truth to manipulate a case.
    CASA doesn’t side with anyone; we do what is best for the children…even if the state and parents don’t agree.

  11. Cindy says

    Be careful about calling CPS. After what my family and I are going through, I will never support anything that CPS or CASA does. These people have lied in court to keep my daughters children, and this is after taking them for no reason. The investigator even said in her report that there was no child abuse in the home but that the parents could benefit from parenting classes. I am a christian and I will take a stand when someone we are supposed to trust keeps children from their mothers and LIES IN COURT AND GETS AWAY WITH IT! My family is suffering terribly at the hands of CPS and CASA. So please make sure it is actually a case where the child is in TRUE DANGER! Don’t do to another family what has been done to us. The allegations that were made were false and made by a drug dealer. Now a murderer has my granddaughter.