According to the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, institutional child sexual abuse has been occurring for generations. Many spoke of having their innocence stolen, their childhood lost, their education and prospective career taken from them and their personal relationships damaged. For many, sexual abuse is a trauma they can never escape. It can affect every aspect of their lives. The Commission found that society’s values and mechanisms which were available to regulate and control aberrant behavior failed.
Because children are vulnerable to abuse, protecting them and promoting their safety is important. We want to keep children safe and ensure their well-being. As a result of the Commission, those leading children must pass a “Working with Children Check”.
We can lead children in the family, in recreational activities and in educational activities. This is a privilege and a responsibility.
Watch your power
Those leading children have positional power, spiritual power and worldview power. Because leaders are responsible for the child’s safety and welfare, these powers need to be respected and controlled.
Teachers and parents have positional power over children. And because of their size and maturity, adults always have power over children. Such leaders have authority because of their position with respect to children which must be exercised with care because children are vulnerable. Misuse of positional power can cause emotional harm to children.
Those leading children can have spiritual power, Their view of God, prayer and the Bible may be evident to the children. Do we give these priority or are they only considered in times of need? Are our spiritual attitudes legalistic, liberal or reasonable? Misuse of this power can cause spiritual harm to children.
I’m doing a course on worldviews like theism, deism, naturalism, nihilism, existentialism, pantheism, new age, and postmodernism (Sire, 2009). Clearly, everyone has a worldview. Did you know that we can influence the worldview of others, particularly children?
Those leading children influence their worldview. This includes beliefs about God, the universe, humanity, history and morality. Our beliefs and attitudes about these can be contagious. This is important because a child’s mind is receptive and their response to the Bible’s message of salvation can determine their eternal destiny.
But did you know that we can learn lessons from children?
Imitate their trust and humility
Jesus said, “anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it” (Mk. 10:15; Lk. 18:17NIV). Little children have unwavering trust in their carers. That’s the kind of faith God wants us to have in Him and the message He has given us in the Bible, Let’s cultivate a constant trust in the God of the Bible who created the universe and all that is in it and who provided Jesus to be the source of our eternal life.
Little children are also humble (Mt. 18:1-4). They are totally dependent on others, particularly their parents. And they imitate their parents. Although little children can be selfish, they don’t have much to be proud about. Jesus said, “anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven” (Mt. 18:4NLT). And humility is one of the steps of repentance (Jas. 4:6-10). Acknowledging our sinfulness and relying on the God’s spiritual power through Jesus rather than always being self-reliant is an act of humility.
Lessons for us
Let’s respect the privilege and responsibility of leading children by serving them like Jesus served His generation. This includes respecting our positional authority, spiritual power and worldview influence. And imitating their continual faith and humility.
Sire J W (2009) “The universe next door – A basic Worldview Catalogue”, Intervarsity Press.
Written, March 2018
Let’s resolve to put on God’s safety equipment to protect us against all the dangers of life we face each day.
Before I could work at an electrical power station, I had to be inducted in the safety requirements designed to protect the health and safety of workers. They are a part of the occupational health and safety requirements that apply at all work places in Australia. The power station has many potential dangers with operating machinery, chemicals, flammable materials, electrical cables, deep pits and dams. After the induction, all workers are given a Safety Handbook and an electronic “Smart Card” that’s required to enter and exit the power station.
The safety equipment at these sites includes: helmet, eye protection, ear muffs, safety boots, protective clothing, fire-fighting equipment, communication devices and first-aid kits. This equipment reminded me of the illustration Paul used of the armor of a Roman soldier (Eph. 6:10-18). In the case of the Christian, Satan, his demons and the sinful nature are the dangers. They can be obvious, “like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour,” or they can be subtle, like an “angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14; 1 Pet. 5:8 NIV). In this article we’ll look at how this safety equipment can illustrate important aspects of Christian character.
The first piece of equipment is a safety helmet to protect against head injuries. The head contains the brain which controls the body via the nervous system. The brain is the body’s nerve center. Our mind controls our actions. But what controls our mind?
Christians have a renewed mind, the mind of Christ, that should be controlled by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:6; 12:2; 1 Cor. 2:16). They have a new attitude when they think from God’s perspective (Eph. 4:23; Phil. 2:5). Our mind is protected when we remember that our salvation and victory is certain through Jesus. This is the “helmet of salvation” (Eph. 6:17), our ultimate security. It helps our minds to be controlled by the Holy Spirit.
Peter urged believers to “prepare your minds for action” by being self-controlled, optimistic, obedient, holy and God-respecting (1 Pet. 1:13-17). According to Paul, we can control what we think (Phil. 4:6-8). Prayer replaces fear and worry with peace, which protects our minds. We should focus our thoughts on things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. Our thoughts should also be single-minded, friendly, considerate, submissive, kind, helpful, impartial and sincere (Jas. 1:5-8, 3:17-18). So there is power in positive thinking.
Safety glasses are designed to protect our eyes from damage in hazardous situations, such as when working with battery acid, grinding wheels or welding equipment. Our eyes help us see the world around us and have the vision to know which way to go. Sight is also important for reading written messages. Imagine what it would be like to need a guide dog to get around.
We should “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” (Heb. 12:2). This means imitating Jesus and growing more and more like Him (Rom. 13:14). It’s an important part of looking forward to the things that are eternal (2 Cor. 4:18).
Those on the road to Emmaus didn’t recognize Jesus until “their eyes were opened” (Lk. 24:31). Like the Laodicean church, we need the Holy Spirit’s light to provide spiritual vision (Rev. 3:18). To help others we need to remove the blind spots in our spiritual lives (Lk. 6:39-42).
Ear plugs are required near noisy machinery, because excessive noise can damage hearing. Hearing is important for listening to audible messages. When our family toured a power station years ago, the guide used a radio transmitter to speak to us through our ear muffs. The muffs shielded the message from the noise. Do we hear God’s messages over the noise of the world? Jesus said that His followers listen to His voice (Jn. 10:16,27).
Ear muffs and ear plugs are made of materials that reduce and absorb noise. They are a shield like our Christian faith (Eph. 6:16). Through our faith we are shielded by God’s power (1 Pet. 1:5). When Satan attacks us with temptation, doubt, disappointment, discouragement, difficulties, persecution, and tragedy, we need to remember God’s promises. This is when it’s important to have faith in God and His Word. After hearing His voice, its important to “do what it says” (Jas. 1:22).
Steel capped boots protect feet from injury. Our feet are important for walking. If they are damaged we may need a walking stick, crutches, a walking frame or a wheel chair to help us move around.
The desire to tell the good news of peace with God should be like wearing shoes on our feet (Eph. 6:15). Jesus said that His followers would tell others about Him everywhere in the world (Acts 1:8). This means walking to where the people are. The Bible says, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news” (Rom. 10:15).
Evangelists and missionaries are sent to preach the gospel all over the world. It is like the wedding invitation sent out to “all the people they could find” (Mt. 22:8-10). We should also be ready to spread God’s good news as His ambassadors. This means that we should “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Pet. 3:15).
Long trousers and long-sleeved shirts are required to protect against sunburn and skin cancer. Sunburn can be painful and skin cancer can be fatal. These clothes protect the limbs and body.
In the Bible white clothes symbolize the good things done by believers (Rev. 19:8). They were recommended for those in the church of Laodicea (Rev. 3:18). Some of these good things are honesty, sharing, kindness, forgiveness and love (Eph. 4:24-5:1). Paul wrote that we should, “clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love” (Col. 3:12-14). Peter wrote, “clothe yourselves with humility toward one another” (1 Pet. 5:5). How is this possible? Jesus promised that Christians would be “clothed with power” by the Holy Spirit, which includes power to live a godly life (Lk. 24:49; Acts 1:8).
There is a diesel powered fire-fighting system at the power station, which pumps water onto any fire. Fires can destroy property and life. There are also special precautions for “hot work” (welding, grinding, oxy-cutting, etc.) that has the potential to ignite flammable materials.
This reminds us of how Jesus used the Word of God to repel Satan’s attacks (Mt. 4:1-11). Each time He was tempted, Jesus said “it is written,” and then responded with a quotation from the Bible. Likewise, we should know the Bible so we can recall it when we are tempted. Also, the Church is cleansed and made holy “by the washing with water through the word” (Eph. 5:26). As we hear and obey God’s Word, our lives are cleansed from the pollution of sin, like water can be used to wash us clean.
When there is an emergency, staff are required to call the emergency phone number immediately. The emergency controller coordinates incident response. If the danger is severe, a site evacuation may be called when all staff must report to the muster point. The emergency alarm is tested weekly.
Prayer is like a phone call to heaven. Regular prayer is essential for the believer – in fact, it is commanded (Eph. 6:18-20). Prayer is an expression of our dependence on God. We should keep praying for each other, but especially for evangelists and missionaries who declare the gospel.
First aid is the initial care of the injured until medical aid arrives. It involves managing the casualty and preserving life until an ambulance crew, medical practitioner or nurse takes over. Life-threatening conditions such as lack of breathing, lack of circulation, severe bleeding, and shock must be treated immediately. At the power station there is staff trained to use the first-aid equipment.
First-aid can be a life saver. It can be used to resuscitate a casualty whose breathing and circulation has stopped. Jesus can be an eternal life saver too. As “the author of life,” Jesus is a great life saver who has rescued us from eternal punishment and given us eternal life (Jn. 3:16; Acts 3:15). People suffering an injury or illness should be grateful to those who aid them. Like the Samaritan who was healed, we should be thankful to God who gives us the victory through Jesus (Lk. 17:16; 1 Cor. 15:57; Heb. 12:28). Our attitude should be one of always giving thanks to God for everything, in Jesus’ name (Eph. 5:20; 1 Th. 5:18).
Put On Your Safety Equipment
There are two parts to protecting ourselves from danger: having the correct safety equipment, and using it. We have seen how the safety equipment can illustrate important aspects of Christian character: The helmet reminds us of our salvation, and that we should prepare our minds for action; Eye protection reminds us to imitate Jesus; Ear muffs remind us to exercise our Christian faith and trust God’s promises; Safety boots remind us to spread the gospel; Protective clothing reminds us to live a godly life, be humble and rely on the Holy Spirit’s power; Fire-fighting equipment reminds us to know the Bible; Communication reminds us to pray regularly; And first-aid reminds us to be thankful to God.
God has provided this “safety equipment” and we need to use it before Satan attacks (Eph. 6:11,13). The believers in Ephesus were told how to “be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power” (Eph. 6:10). They had to “put on the full armor of God” to “stand against the devil’s schemes” and “stand firm” like a soldier (Eph. 6:11,14). This means putting on your safety equipment daily as you live for God in the world (Rom. 13:12).
We need God’s help to do this, and we need to help each other. That’s one of the reasons why the Church exists. As the induction training at the power station is reviewed annually, we also need to recall these things often. So let’s resolve to put on God’s safety equipment to protect us against all the dangers of life we face each day.