How many kids don't know someone loves them?
I have the privilege of starting each day with a walk down a long sidewalk right beside the playgrounds of our Weekday Children’s Ministry. The children all wave and say hello, the older ones calling out “Hey, Pastor Caren.” Some of them don’t quite understand the Pastor part, so they call me Mister Caren. It doesn’t matter; I answer them all with a cheery hello. It starts my day right. It makes me feel loved and that is worth its weight in gold.
Then I started thinking ... thinking about how very many children in the world don’t know that someone loves them. The enormous numbers of orphans and abandoned children living in the world today. The children who are abused by the very parents that are supposed to give them unconditional love. It breaks my heart. I know it breaks God’s heart, too.
All this political correctness and lawsuits, as well as the desire to protect children from predators, has made it practically impossible to hug a child. I have to wait until the child hugs me, and be sure there is another adult present as a witness in order to be in compliance with our church’s safe sanctuaries policy. Most churches and schools have similar programs. The scouts require special training before a volunteer can work with them. And unfortunately what is meant to protect children from predators also “protects” them from non-predators — the people who would give them a hugs or listen to them talk or read them a book or any number of things that would make a child feel safe and loved.
So how do Christians look after the orphans as scripture demands we do? There are actually many ways. We can partner with local schools to provide school supplies. We can provide weekend backpacks, packed with nutritious food for the children who go home to face hunger or homelessness. We can support foreign missions for and with children. We can revive the “trick or treat for UNICEF” program. We can participate in “Peace One Day” which works with local governments and helping agencies to declare a complete ceasefire on September 21, so aid workers can go in and immunize children against disease without having to risk their lives to do so. The myriad ways to support children are there for us to support with our time, our money and our commitment.
The Bible is full of admonitions for us to help the widows and orphans in our midst. When safe and secure, they are at least free to give and receive love. We can provide shelter, safety and healthcare for these children. Psalm 10:12-14 declares how very important it is to protect and defend the orphans:
Arise, O Lord! Punish the wicked, O God! Do not ignore the helpless! Why do the wicked get away with
See Morgan/Page A10