"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
(Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)
The truth of God's word says that harm is not part of his plan for us. He doesn't say it won't happen, because we do live in a fallen world, but he clearly says that it is not in his will. As Christians we are called to walk in the truth of God's word and align ourselves with the will of God. Therefore, we are called to do everything in our power to prevent children from being sexually abused.
Believers are called to become knowledgeable and learn how to intercede on behalf of children BEFORE abuse happens. This starts with interceding for our own children and extends to the children in our circles of influence, such as our extended family, our kids' friends, our neighborhood, our workplace, where we volunteer, and to the organizations that serve our children. Some individuals may also be called to carry the message of prevention and healing even further.
Church leaders are called to become knowledgeable and learn how to intercede on behalf of children BEFORE abuse happens, starting with the children who are in your care; as part of your weekly children's programs, weekly youth programs, vacation bible schools, camp programs, on-site church sponsored events, and off-site church sponsored events, as well as children your teams encounter in the missions field. You are also positioned to equip and empower your flock to intercede on behalf of children BEFORE abuse happens. And lastly, you are the light of the world and you are called to be a beacon of truth in your community. You have the opportunity to engage your community, believers and unbelievers alike, in the prevention of child sexual abuse by sharing what you have learned as well as how you are proactively creating an environment that protects children, and call them to do the same. Just as God raises you up, you too are called to raise others up, to step into alignment with the truth of God's word and the will of God for our children.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)
You may have noticed the intentional and repetitive capitalization of the word "BEFORE" - it is crucial to God's calling on my life and my calling you forth. It is simply easier to live in fear and denial than to face the realities of childhood sexual abuse and do something about it but God calls us to more. As a society we have been forced to address the issue because of its prevalence and often debilitating consequences but we still primarily focus on picking up the pieces after the fact - law enforcement, social services, therapy, substance abuse recovery programs, homeless and battered women's shelters, suicide prevention hotlines, psychotropic drugs, etc. But let us remember that PREVENTION is paramount to God's plan - it not only saves our children but it also saves the perpetrators from falling further into the enemy's trap.
Remember, child sexual abuse is a scheme of the enemy to take out our children as early as possible in their lives, so that they would never be able to partake in the Kingdom of God. With an estimated 42 million survivors of child sexual abuse in America alone and 20% of our children likely to be abused before the age of 18, Satan is seeing some pretty good success. But...
Child sexual abuse is predictable and preventable
when we surround children with knowledgeable and outspoken adults.
Let's each do our part to put an end to Satan's success.