Have you ever watched a child almost dart in front of a car? Anyone and everyone will move heaven and earth to intervene and save the child’s life. No one stops to worry about who is watching the child or what the reaction will be after intervening. All anyone cares about is the immediate intervention needed to save the child from being hit by a car.
In reality, many children in our world are in need of intervention. Not just from abuse, neglect and starvation (although millions need that too). The children of the world need us to intervene so they will not become attached to Satan. Even in our churches most of our children will eventually leave God. Yet, we feel little need to intervene in some way. We assume children will pick up “God” by some sort of osmosis. Even the Church itself often provides parents with little more support than classes once or twice a week and an occasional fun activity.
The scariest thing to me is when older, more experienced parents watch a parent at church parenting in a way that is damaging the chances of the parent raising a child who follows God as an adult. I am not talking about abusive situations (which should always be reported to the authorities immediately) or those little old ladies who are convinced your baby will die of pneumonia because he has taken his socks off for the millionth time in two minutes (those types of comments are better left unsaid).
I am talking about parents who are parenting in ways that are slowly but surely moving their children away from God instead of towards Him. Parents with older children have seen these parenting patterns before (Solomon said there was nothing new under the sun, remember!) These parents have watched their peers parent in a similar way or maybe they made those same mistakes themselves. They saw the disastrous results.
Yet, no one intervenes for these children. Fear stops us from saying or doing anything. Fear of angering a parent who is struggling with Christian parenting. Fear of being accused of judging. Fear of risking embarrassment and then having the parent continue to parent in ways that will eventually move their child away from God instead of towards Him anyway. Fear freezes us from doing the one thing that may eventually save the child’s soul – intervening.
The Apostles were not afraid to intervene and try to stop other Christians from doing things that would separate them from God. One of the purposes of the Church is to encourage one another and spur each other on to good works. Yet, the world would have us believe intervening in the lives of other Christians is judgmental and sinful. The scriptures, though, teach us to try and intervene on behalf of His children, in loving and meaningful ways.
The next time you become concerned about a child, develop a relationship with her parents. Get to know them better and allow them to get to know you. Use whatever influence you have to intervene on behalf of the child. Quote scripture and give real life examples of what has happened to the children you know who were parented similarly. Be loving, but firm. It sounds dramatic, but it is. Your early intervention for this child could make an eternal difference in his life.
If you are a parent struggling with Christian parenting, ask for help. Denying you are struggling is only hurting your child. Look around and find parents with older children who love, obey and serve God. What did they do at your child’s age to get where they are today? What mistakes did they make or did they watch other parents make? Yes, you will have to humble yourself. You may even feel embarrassed. Focus on the end and not the present, though. Wouldn’t you do whatever it takes to have your children with you in Heaven? Isn’t the risk of embarrassment worth the chance other parents may have the very answers you are seeking?
Educators and doctors will tell you that the earlier intervention occurs, the better the results usually are. Whether it is your child or someone else’s who needs someone to intervene to help them move closer to God, don’t delay. Early intervention in a child’s spiritual life may just help save his soul.
There are millions of abused, orphaned and abandoned children around the world and in the United States. Many churches are involved with foster care, adoption, orphanages and/or child protection programs around the world and in the U.S.. If you truly want to make a difference, become involved in saving these “lost” children. Provide them with the early intervention they need to be placed in a safe, loving, nurturing, Christian environment. Most programs have various levels of involvement, but all could use your help! One of the ones we work with is Ciudad de Angeles, which provides a loving, Christian environment for some of the 1.4 million orphaned and abandoned children in Mexico. With one location on Cozumel and a second soon to open in Cuernavaca, Ciudad de Angeles provides numerous ways to become involved in helping the orphaned and abandoned children of Mexico.