March 18, 2013
READ: Matthew 18:6-14
In the same way, it is not my heavenly Father’s will that even one of these little ones should perish (v.14).
Jenny grew up in a home where both parents engaged in extramarital affairs and were prone to violence. In this setting Jenny soon became emotionally and physically neglected—and vulnerable to others.
An uncle took her to a park and sexually abused her. Jenny experienced a similar fate at the hands of a visiting insurance salesman and from her mother’s boyfriend. By the age of 8, one of Jenny’s brothers was also abusing her.
As a result of these experiences Jenny developed the idea that people would love her only if she was sexually available. You can imagine what this led to during her teenage years. By the time Jenny reached her 30s, she was on her second marriage, prone to affairs and desperate for acceptance.
Jesus loved children (Matthew 18:10, 19:13-15) and reserved some of His harshest words for those who abused them and led them into sin. Of this He said, “It would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea” (18:6). One shudders to think of the fate on judgement day of Jenny’s uncle, brother, mother’s boyfriend and that insurance salesman.
Thankfully God deeply desires to save damaged “little ones”—as well as those who have hurt them. Jesus likened Himself to a shepherd who searches for and rejoices when He finds even one stray sheep (vv.12-14). Jenny’s life and lifestyle changed when she came to understand the depth of His love. If the Father loved her that much, she didn’t need to seek approval from others in illicit ways.
Some of Jenny’s abusers may have been acting out of their own childhood abuse. But whatever the case, God continues to seek and save lost “little ones”—no matter how old they are. —Sheridan Voysey
See Deuteronomy 6:1-9, Ephesians 6:4 and Colossians 3:21 for more instruction about how God would have us love children.
How does this teaching help you understand the reasons for some promiscuous behaviour? Why is it so vital that you understand God’s love for you?