Suffer the Little Children
Sermon shared by Tim Richards
Summary: A sermon on child abuse
Audience: Believer adults
The command for children to obey does not give parents license for harsh treatment. Children must be handled with care.
3. When children are treated as a "problem," it destroys their self-esteem and ultimately does great damage to their hearts. Belittling children has no place in the parenting of the Christian mom & dad.
The purpose of parental discipline is to help children grow, not to exasperate and provoke them to anger or discouragement.
4. I like the point the Life Application Bible Commentary makes about this passage. It says, "Parenting isn’t easy— it takes lots of patience to raise children in a loving, Christ-honoring manner. But frustration & anger shouldn’t be causes for discipline... Parents should act in love, treating their children as Jesus treats the people he loves. This is vital to children’s development & to their understanding of what Christ is like." 12
The purpose of parental discipline is to help children grow, not to exasperate and provoke them to anger or discouragement. 12
5. Parents can take the heart out of their children by failing to discipline them lovingly and instruct them in the ways of the Lord. However, they can take the heart out of their children even more quickly by being harsh & inflexible. When parents are too harsh their children lose heart. This isn’t what God intends for us as parents. Our children need to know that although we don’t approve of everything they do, we do approve of who they are and what they are. We love them just because they are our children. Nothing more is required for us to love them.
1. I want to conclude with some reflections that I think are healthy for us as a church. In recent years the Catholic Church has received an incredible amount of bad publicity because some of their leaders have been more concerned about protecting the image of the church, than in protecting the children of the church. When they have done that they were wrong.
2. More recently the way the Jehovah’s Witnesses have covered up repeated examples of abuse has come to light in the media.
3. How should a church handle an allegation of child abuse leveled against one of her members? That’s a legitimate question & one that must be considered. Earlier I mentioned Charles Swindol as a leader that I respect. When he pastored the First Evangelical Free Church of Fullerton, California a leader in the church was accused of abuse. When it became clear that the leader was guilty the church didn’t try to cover things up, they cooperated fully with authorities.
4. Perhaps that seems like common sense, but a 1995 survey of 1,700 congregations by Church Law and Tax Report found that only 2% of congregations reported allegations of molestation. Their research indicated that many church volunteers have been guilty of sexual abuse. 7
5. I have a little experience in the church I served before becoming your pastor. One of the men in my in my congregation was accused of sexual abuse. I stood with him & his family, even going to court with them. I honestly didn’t think Jim was guilty. The charges against him were eventually dropped because there wasn’t enough evidence. However, Jim later admitted that he was guilty. I loved Jim, in fact I still do, but that fact didn’t make me blind to the
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