I have been chosen to speak on the subject of Church and Child Abuse. First, I will define the words in the title of this lesson. In our day and time, a church would be a local group of Christian believers, or followers of Christ; a child would be a young person of either sex; and abuse is a corrupt practice of improper use or treatment.
The lesson gives us some selected Scriptures as guidelines. The first is Genesis 4:9-21, where Cain slew his brother Abel. Why did this happen? You all know the story of Adam and Eve and how they were banished from the Garden of Eden. Well, I would imagine in some point and time Adam and Eve explained to their sons why they had been banished from the Garden. Just imagine how frustrated Cain and Abel must have been to see the beautiful garden but not allowed to enter it. The Bible does not stress this, but it is possible that after Adam and Eve were banished from the garden, their relationship didn't help matters. They must have set a disturbing example for their sons.
Eventually Abel became a shepherd and Cain took up farming. Cain was an angry man. I guess he thought he was suppose to have his way since he was the first born. He was jealous of his younger brother, especially when it came time to give and offering to God. God had respect for Abel's offering but none for Cain or his offering. The Bible states that Abel's offering was his firstlings and the fat thereof. This means Abel offered his first and fattest sheep to God. Usually, when a person makes or accomplishes something for the first time, he wants to keep it because it has special sentimental value. But Abel loved God and he wanted his first and best to go to Him and he gave it from his heart. And we all know, God always look at the heart.
Hebrews 11:4 says, "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain." So when Cain gave his fruit of the ground sacrifice, he apparently lacked the faith that made Abel's sacrifice acceptable. Upon realizing that God accepted Abel's sacrifice but did not favor his, Cain grew very angry. Cain did not realize that his offering was a mere acknowledgment of God as benefactor. God told Cain if he did well he would be accepted, but if not, sin lieth at the door and would rule over him. Cain did not listen to God's voice, instead he convinced his brother into going into the fields and there he killed his younger brother Abel.
When God asked Cain, "where is Abel?" Cain sinned...he lied. "I do not know. Am I my brother's keeper?". Both before and after, Cain refused to turn to doing good. He let sin become the master of him. For this, Cain was banished from his home. Cain later married and had sons. All his descendants became known for their violence. Cain's line ended when the big flood came and swept away all unrighteous men.
The Bible account of Cain and Abel was not preserved simply for reading, rather it was written for our instructions and beneficial for teaching. Whatsoever things were written before time were written for our learning that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
How can we help prevent child abuse? We can help by counseling. The church of today must do as God did. At times we must reprimand straight forwardly and outline the consequences of sin. Like God, we must acknowledge that we are only helpers of the individual needing counseling. We must show positive confidence that the one being counseled can master his problem and is willing to help himself do that. We must always accept the fact that we will find those that are not willing to heed our warnings just as Cain chose to ignore warnings from God.
Another way to help prevent child abuse is through teaching, molding, and shaping our children. Attitude and conduct are a couple of things that determine the type of persons our kids become. Children are first shaped by a peculiar disposition of mind and character of the heart. Children who attend church usually have no problem obeying when told. Bring children to Sunday School and church; start molding and shaping them in a Christian atmosphere as early as possible. There are so many things at school and throughout society that our children have to face on a daily basis. Bad language, pornography, degraded entertainment, and peer pressure are some of the many things that lead our children astray. Try to encourage children to watch whom they associate with. They are often shaped by associations and experiences. It is very important that they are counseled and taught by good influences with Christian backgrounds.
It's time for us, as Christian leaders, to take authority. It is important that we pay constant attention to God's word. Even though they may have been brought up in a Christian home, we must instill in our children the need to know Jesus for themselves. A family program for building each other up would be a good start. Younger children can be taught to pray at a very early age. Daily Bible reading and study time allows family members to read, talk over, and explain God's word. This enables the family to know how God expects us to live and what He expects us to do. Always explain to your kids that God can work through any person, adult or child, male or female, who is willing to obey His word.
A good key to preventing child abuse is starting your children out young in God's word. There are all sorts of acceptable things out there for kids. There are even coloring books of Bible stories that preschool kids can use in the homes. Saying Bible verses and giving thanks before eating is a good habit to start with younger kids. Parents should always be thinking of ways to bring their young children into a relationship with God. June 13th has been designated as Children's Day. I pray that those of you who have not made an effort to bring your children to Christ, that you would choose to do something special with your children on their day and point them toward the Savior. My last selected Scripture comes from Ephesians 6:1, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right." God placed parents in authority over children. "Honor your Father and Mother". This commandment ends with a promise. If you honor your father and mother, yours will be a long life full of blessings. And parents should not keep scolding their children, making them angry and resentful. Bring your children up with the loving discipline the Lord approves, with suggestions and Godly advice.
In closing, I would like to leave you with a favorite Scripture. Psalms 91:4 says, "He shall cover thee with his feathers and under his wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler."
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