If you grew up in church, you might’ve heard a very familiar song about Jesus and children:
Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Red and yellow, black and white
They’re all precious in his sight
Jesus loves the little children of the world
It gave Jesus such joy to be with the littlest among us. In Matthew 19:14 when some tried to keep the kids away, Jesus was quick to say, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
Unfortunately, much of the world doesn’t love kids like our Savior does. According to our friends at the Bair Foundation, more than half a million children in the United States are the victims of abuse and neglect every year. Furthermore, the World Health Organization reports that about 73 million abortions happen annually worldwide.
In contrast, God’s word has some important things to say about children and how to lovingly care for them. Together, let’s look at some examples from Scripture to guide our perspective when it comes to the value of children. Plus, we’ll share a couple of ways you can help children who need to know God’s love.
CHILDREN ARE HANDMADE BY GOD
Unlike the rest of creation that was spoken into existence, God was quite “hands on” when creating Adam. Genesis 2 says that Adam was formed from the dust of the ground and then God breathed life into him. According to Psalm 139, God is just as active in creating each new life that comes into the world. Seeing the yet unformed bodies, God gets to work, starting to knit each child together before the mother even knows about the new presence within her.
Common worldly narratives push people to believe that the unborn are nothing but a clump of cells to be discarded at will. However, these unborn treasures are valuable enough for God to get directly involved in their development. Who are we to destroy what God has handmade for a purpose? The Lord loves those precious unseen little ones and desires that we should see them as He does:
CHILDREN NEED TRAINING
All faithful followers of Jesus want to see their children grow to be faithful followers as well. According to Scripture, you give them the best chance when you train them to follow Jesus from when they are little. But how exactly do you train them? Take every opportunity to teach them about the Lord and what it looks like to obey Him in all things.
While you’re going about your day, take advantage of every opportunity to talk to your kids about God. For example, did they just fail to obey their parents? Grab a Bible and tenderly show them where God says to “obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right” (Ephesians 6:1). Are they having trouble waiting their turn while playing with a sibling? Remind them that patience is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
DISCIPLINE IS LOVE
In a day and age where many parents don’t take the time to discipline their kids, we clearly see in the Bible that discipline is essential. However, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. Simply yelling at children out of anger may yield desired results in the moment, but can ultimately lead to a damaged relationship. Instead, God’s word tells us to discipline in love, continuing to incorporate the training instructed in other passages of Scripture. In fact, such discipline is actually a display of love.
Did you catch that? Withheld discipline, in whatever appropriate form, is a sign of hatred for a child. That’s quite a strong accusation. In contrast, a disciplined child is a loved child.
When your child is being disciplined, they likely aren’t feeling “loved” in that moment. You probably don’t either. No kid sees a spanking, grounding, or confiscation of their favorite toy as loving. Yet when discipline is combined with daily instruction and training in the Lord, you teach them biblical lessons that sin is serious and therefore has consequences. The earlier they learn that lesson, the sooner they’ll be able to fully understand their need for a Savior as well as how to follow Him in obedience well into adulthood.
As an added bonus, faithfully disciplining children isn’t just good for the kids. It’s also good for you. Proverbs presents a promise you may want to write down and review on the days when the discipline is particularly difficult:
HOW CAN YOU HELP CHILDREN IN NEED OF LOVE?
God makes it abundantly clear that children are adored by Him and need love from their parents. That love comes in many forms including training and discipline. But aside from parenting your own children well, what can you do to love children who aren’t getting the love they need? We’d like to offer a couple of suggestions:
Help the unborn by helping their mothers. Women in crisis pregnancy situations often feel stuck or just don’t know their options. You can help by either donating or volunteering to help Life Line Pregnancy Center in Wilmington or the crisis pregnancy center closest to you.
Foster or adopt. There are many children who have come out of dangerous home situations and the need for help is great. Are you in a position to foster or adopt? Then our friends at the Bair Foundation would love to talk to you.