Do You Care Enough to Save a Life?
Some child may need the care that only you can give -- do you care enough to change a life? Having myself been the victim of psychological child abuse, I know how important caring can be -- if only one person had really cared about me and let me know they cared!
Many of us are concerned about the child who is physically abused, and we let our concern show. Physical abuse shows. Psychological abuse shows too, but most people are not aware of what they are seeing. Children react in different ways. Some may become excessively timid. Some may react in socially unacceptable ways such as boisterousness or cursing. Some may have been hurt so much that they have built a seemingly impregnable wall about themselves, becoming "loners." Very likely, you will not realize that a child is a victim of this kind of child abuse. It may even be better if you are not aware of it. There is a difference between pity and love! A child needs and wants love.
Matthew 25:40 reads, "And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." Even when we are least aware of it, we are having influence on someone's life. There may be a child whose life YOU can change. That child may be a neighbor; he may be in your Bible class; he may be in your little league ball team, or he may be in VBS. You may come in contact with him in some unexpected way. If a child seems to want to be around you, CARE! You may be the only influence he will ever have for Christ! If Jesus wanted to be around you, how would you treat him?
Probably most of you have been raised in reasonably congenial surroundings with the comfort and support of loving parents. Have you ever thought how it would have affected you, if, instead of loving parents, your parents had told you -- either by word or actions -- that you were in the way? That you were not wanted? That you were a bother? That you were an unwelcome expense? That you were of no value for anything? No matter how hard you tried, that you could not do anything right? Think back a minute and remember how badly you felt when you were just scolded for something, then think how bad it would be to live with that feeling day in and day out? Could you have stood it? Many children DO! Do you care enough to help change some child's life? If so, DO WHAT YOU CAN, WHERE YOU ARE, WITH WHAT YOU HAVE!
The scriptures teach us that a child thinks as a child. He does not have the ability to reason as an adult. A child cannot realize that his parents are the ones who have the problem. It is his nature to believe that his parents are right. Consequently, when they tell him he is at fault, that he is worthless, that he is of no value, he believes that he IS at fault, that he IS worthless, that he IS of no value. Even though a child may be longing to be loved, he probably cannot tell you, "Please love me," for he thinks he is unworthy of love. However, if he never has experienced love, he will not know what he is longing for. He will just want to be around you though he may not know why.
There are two kinds of love spoken of in the Bible. One is phileo, meaning, "I like you very much." The other is agapao, meaning a sacrificial type of love. No child is unlovable, but he may act in such a way as to be unlikable. We may not like a person, but we can love that person as God loved us! Did we act in such a way as to win God's love? Yet He loved us as we were, where we were. A child has a way of seeing through phoniness. Be yourself. Be honest. If he is wrong, tell him, but let him know you love him! A child does not want a "snow job." He just wants to be loved. You can love him even when he is unlikable, and you can express that love.
You probably cannot, and probably should not attempt to change his environment, but you can help him learn to cope with it. You may not approve of the way his parents handle things, but they are the only parents he has. To a child, the unknown holds more terror than the known. His situation may be quite bad, but he would have no way of knowing that another situation such as a foster home or orphanage would be any better. Instead of trying to change the situation, try to teach him a new way of seeing the situation. Show him a new horizon. Build up his self-esteem. Give of yourself. Love him, and let him know you love him! Care enough to change a life! The deep wounds of this kind of child abuse, left unattended, may never heal. Yet properly attended to, they will heal and become just scars of memories. Because someone loved me, I am learning to love myself. Because someone believed in me, I am learning to believe in myself. Because someone could hope in my behalf, I am learning to hope. Someone cared enough to show me new horizons, to change my life! Won't you care enough for someone you may know to show him the love of our Savior?
Sandra F. Cobble
Published in The Old Paths Archive