Children and Abuse: The Weakest Members of Society
Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Matthew 18:5-6 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, (6) but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
As we have discussed the nature, use, and abuse of power, authority, and control, we have learned that how a person exercises power over those who are weaker than they is a direct revelation of the real character of that person — whether good or evil. So it is not surprising that evil people are shown up for who they really are in connection with their manner of dealing with their children.
Children are the weakest members of society. Listen to M. Scott Peck on this:
“The most typical victim of evil is a child. This is to be expected, because children are not only the weakest and most vulnerable members of our society, but also because parents wield a power over the lives of their children that is essentially absolute. The dominion of master over slave is not far different from the domination of parent over child. The child’s immaturity and resulting dependency mandate its parents’ possession of great power but do not negate the fact that this power, like all power, is subject to abuse of various degrees of malignancy.” [People of the Lie]
Abuse victims know far more than they would ever choose to know about how power in the hands of the abuser oppresses children. It is one thing for any of us to suffer at the hands of a wicked person, but quite another to see our children suffering so. As long as loving parents and their children live, even after those children have grown into adulthood, moms and dads share in the suffering and hardship experienced by their sons and daughters. And this is how it should be. It is the nature of genuine love to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. But when a mother, for example, not only lives in fear of an abusive husband herself but must also witness her children being abused, the intensity of her suffering increases in proportion to her love for those children. It is not surprising that the crisis point at which an abuse victim so often resolves to leave her abuser is precipitated by a “final straw” in the abuser’s evil toward her children.
Power in the hands of an evil person or regime always works its wickedness upon the weak and helpless. It is to be expected then that wherever we see children being mistreated, we will surely find a malevolent force in possession of power. Recently, the 40 year anniversary of 9 year old Kim Phuc’s terrible trauma during the Vietnam War was reached. The prize-winning photo of her running from the napalm says it all. It is the weak – the children – who suffer the most. (Kim Phuc survived by the way, and is now 49 years old. The turning point in her life came when she happened upon a Bible after years and years of despair that almost led her to suicide).
God’s Word leaves us with two anchors of truth in this regard:
- The Lord will effect perfect and unfailing justice upon evil people who oppress the weak and refuse to repent. Scripture promises particularly harsh wrath against those who oppress the “little ones.” Let no one who abuses children think that God does not see all of what they are doing, nor that He will fail to call them to account for it.
- Christ is a restorer of those who have been abused. While abuse effects great harm upon children, those who will turn to Christ and seek His redemption will unfailingly find healing. The best thing a mother can do for her children is to follow Christ herself and point them to Him.