But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. Matthew 18:6 (NASB)
In the news this week, a young man confessed that he had used mission trips to molest young children. While this sickened me, unfortunately I can’t say that it surprised me. Predators go where they find children. Church is only one such place.
Statistics say that 1 in every 3 women and 1 in every 10 men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. Many of those assaults occur while these are still children and at their most vulnerable.
As a children’s worker for over forty years, it never occurred to me to wonder why we never taught lessons on human sexuality until I found out that one of the young girls I had taught in first and second grade had been molested by her own father from the time she was a toddler until she was about twelve. When she finally had the courage to speak up and tell her mother, her mother put an end to the abuse by immediately divorcing her husband. But I know the effects of the abuse did not end there. I’ve always had to wonder if there was something I, as her teacher, could have done to save her from this trauma years earlier.
I have to commend my church, #Hebron Church, on its vigilance in this matter. All children’s workers are required to go through a criminal background check, and to watch a video, which serves as a stern warning to all would-be predators that they will be caught, and they will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
But what about those children whose place of danger is their own home? Isn’t that the one place in the world where they should feel the safest? But so often, it’s not. How can we, as church workers, help our children to know that Jesus cares; that He doesn’t want them to be hurt in any way, and it’s okay to cry out for help? If we continue our silence on this subject, aren’t we fostering the atmosphere that allowed its presence in the first place? Won’t our Lord hold us accountable for that silence? I think Matthew 18:6 says He will.
Taboo Tuesday Question of the Day: What can we do to protect our children from sexual predators?