The Bible’s Viewpoint
Does God Really Care About Children?
HUNDREDS of millions of children are exploited, abused, and violently attacked each year. Many work as virtual slaves in hazardous conditions. Others are abducted and forced to become soldiers or child prostitutes. The trust of many children has been further betrayed by incest and other horrific acts of child abuse.
Understandably, sincere, caring individuals are troubled by the plight of children. While admitting that human greed and depravity are largely responsible for such mistreatment, some may still find it hard to accept that a God of love would allow such injustice. They may feel that God has abandoned these children and that maybe he does not really care. Is that true? Does the tragic fact that children are exploited and often abused mean that God does not care about them? What does the Bible say?
God Condemns Abusers
Jehovah God never purposed that children be exploited by ruthless adults. The abuse of children is one of the most tragic consequences of mankind’s rebellion in the garden of Eden. That rejection of God’s sovereignty opened the door to cruel exploitation of humans by their fellowmen.—Genesis 3:11-13, 16; Ecclesiastes 8:9.
God abhors those who take advantage of the weak and the defenseless. Many ancient nations that did not serve Jehovah practiced child sacrifice, but Jehovah said that this was ‘a thing that he had not commanded and that had not come up into his heart.’ (Jeremiah 7:31) God warned his ancient people: “If you should afflict [the fatherless boy] at all, then if he cries out to me at all, I shall unfailingly hear his outcry; and my anger will indeed blaze.”—Exodus 22:22-24.
Jehovah Loves Children
God’s concern for children is evident in the wise instructions he gives human parents. Children raised in a secure home are more likely to become mature, well-adjusted adults. Thus, our Creator instituted marriage, a lifelong arrangement whereby “a man will leave his father and his mother and he must stick to his wife and they must become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24) In the Bible, sexual relations are authorized only within marriage so that any resulting children can be cared for in a stable environment.—Hebrews 13:4.
The Scriptures also emphasize the importance of parental training. “Sons are an inheritance from Jehovah,” the Bible says, “the fruitage of the belly is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a mighty man, so are the sons of youth.” (Psalm 127:3, 4) Children are a precious gift from God, and he wants them to thrive. God exhorts parents to give their children good direction in life, just as an archer carefully aims when firing his arrows. “Fathers,” God’s Word instructs, “do not be irritating your children, but go on bringing them up in the discipline and mental-regulating of Jehovah.”—Ephesians 6:4.
Another way Jehovah has shown his love for children is by teaching parents to protect their children from predators. In ancient Israel, even “the little ones” were commanded to listen to the Law, which included identification of proper and improper sexual conduct. (Deuteronomy 31:12; Leviticus 18:6-24) God wants parents to do everything they can to protect their children from anyone who might exploit or abuse them.
A Hope for Children
Jehovah’s abiding love for children was beautifully demonstrated by Jesus Christ, who perfectly mirrors his Father’s personality. (John 5:19) When his apostles, in a mistaken attempt to help Jesus, refused to let parents bring their small children to him, Jesus indignantly corrected them. “Let the young children come to me,” he said. And then, “he took the children into his arms and began blessing them.” (Mark 10:13-16) Children are not insignificant in the eyes of either Jehovah God or his Son.
In fact, through his appointed King, Jesus Christ, God will soon act to relieve children who are maltreated. The greedy exploiters and ruthless abusers of this world will be done away with forever. (Psalm 37:10, 11) As for the meek ones who seek Jehovah, the Bible says: “He will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”—Revelation 21:3, 4.
In the meantime, God shows his love right now by offering spiritual and emotional help for all who are exploited and abused. “The lost one I shall search for,” he promises, “and the dispersed one I shall bring back, and the broken one I shall bandage and the ailing one I shall strengthen.” (Ezekiel 34:16) Through his Word, his holy spirit, and the Christian congregation, Jehovah comforts children who are downtrodden and impoverished. What a joy to know that now, just as he will in the future, “the Father of tender mercies and the God of all comfort, . . . comforts us in all our tribulation.”—2 Corinthians 1:3, 4.
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