Frankincense and Myrrh /p>

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14, New International Version)

At a recent breakfast for our men’s ministry, we were asked to break into small groups so we could meet someone we didn’t know. Since these “icebreakers” are often filled with awkward silence, our pastor gave us a list of questions we could pose to one another, accomplishing the dual purpose of learning more about each other and covering up those pregnant pauses!

One question in particular struck me, and the answer I came up with surprised me a bit, because my passions and interests are many, so I thought it would be difficult to zero in on just one. The question was:

What in life currently breaks your heart to the point that you’d give up some personal things or time to make a difference in this area?

Try answering that question over pancakes and bacon! I didn’t have a lot of time to formulate a response, but this is what came to my mind:

“The way adults, individually and collectively, put self-interest before the needs of children.”

Children in the world are suffering from poverty, substandard education, hunger, and physical, emotional and sexual abuse, just to name a few, and that is if they get to live outside their mother’s womb. All of these problems are preventable, and all can be traced to a policy decision or action by adults which put their desires ahead of what would be best for children.

One of the core tenets of true justice is to protect the weak and defenseless from harm, and we are not only not protecting them, we are the primary source of harm to them. As a Christian, I believe we are accountable to the Lord for how we treat “the least of these,” and Jesus Himself is explicit in His condemnation of those who would lead children astray.

One of the most heartbreaking scenes I’ve ever witnessed was in a video for world missions that I watched during a Thursday small group session at my church. A little girl, south Asian in appearance, is walking on a sidewalk in a busy part of an unnamed city, carrying something on her back. She stops and looks at a spot on the sidewalk, and unfurls what turns out to be her bedding, which she carefully places on the sidewalk and, after a couple of adjustments, lays her head on her pillow for sleep. While she lies there, adults are walking by her as if she’s invisible.

That image haunts me to this day. That little girl ought to be curled up in her mother’s or father’s lap, her head resting on her parent’s chest as she sleeps.

Children ought to be held and hugged and loved, but not only are millions of them neglected, millions endure suffering and harm at the hands of adults, and not all of the acts of harm are visibly abusive or violent. As despicable as they are, those are the easy ones to detect.

Half of all sexual abuse victims are children, and of the 10 million children who witness domestic violence each year, about half of them are the victims of violence in their very own homes.

Over 300,000 American children are at risk for sexual exploitation, and 1.2 million children worldwide are victims of human trafficking. Half of the people bought and sold across international borders are children, and most of them are destined for the sex trade. One of the horrific outcomes of legalized prostitution in the Netherlands is an increase in child trafficking and child sex workers.

As many as 300,000 children are forcibly recruited to serve in government armies or rebel forces. If they are not fighting, they are dying of disease or hunger, or both, as soldiers prevent food, medicine or other essentials from reaching people in “enemy” territory. Acts of violence against children in war zones, including rape, are commonplace.

We read about these atrocities, or we witness them on the news or in Internet images or videos, and a great outcry arises, and calls go out to raise money or lead marches “for the children.” Yet we harm children daily with our ham-handed policy decisions which deprive them of the opportunity for a normal, healthy life.

Children are often the unintended victims of government policies enacted by self-centered adults who believe children are either a trophy, a prop, a punishment, or a hindrance to their desires, rather than human beings who are adored in the sight of God and have rights as significant as those adults claim.

What Washington bureaucrat thought it was a good idea to disincentivize men from being in the home with the children they made, and the mother they made them with, by only paying out government aid if the man wasn’t in the house? Today, more than two-thirds of children born in the United States are born to women under 30, and more than half of them are born to unwed mothers. While the percentage of children born out of wedlock in the black community is a tragic 73 percent, this phenomenon knows no racial boundaries; four in 10 children in America are born to single mothers.

The damage to children has been enormous. Children born into single parent families are four times more likely to be poor than the children in two-parent homes, and they fail in school and suffer from behavioral and emotional problems at higher rates as well. They are also more likely to fall into crime and eventually end up in the prison system.

As government tries to act as a primary provider for children, presuming itself to be a viable substitute for a parent, it corrupts people who may otherwise be compelled to do right by their offspring. Parents in impoverished areas deliberately remove their children from literacy programs because they want to continue receiving checks from the government for children with learning disabilities. What kind of life lies ahead for these children? Is it right that they are doomed to lives of permanent despair through no fault of their own?

Research consistently points to marriage as the main bulwark against child poverty, and the argument that a child doesn’t need either a mother or a father is laid low by the evidence.

America, however, has been chipping away at the institution of marriage since the 1960s, and we ceased fighting for a culture of marriage because it would require us to acknowledge the complementary roles of a mother and a father in a permanent relationship which binds them to the children they brought into the world, thereby ensuring their safety and security.

That would mean putting our romantic or erotic desires in a subordinate role to what’s best for children, and we rationalize, obfuscate, deflect, ignore, demonize and mythologize to avoid doing that, even to the point of declaring a right to children so we can be validated, rather than defending the rights of children to have a mother and a father at home.

It’s one thing for children to come into the world through unanticipated circumstances, but it’s another to deliberately design policy that writes out of existence the one adult sexual union that would assure children of protection and love from the human beings who created them. And to what end? If adults want to couple and decouple at will, they have the liberty to do so, but why don’t they leave the children out of it, and leave something for them that will help them flourish?

In yet another policy arena, adults seem hell-bent on keeping our children trapped in unsafe schools where they learn nothing and, once again, their justification appears to have less to do with what will most benefit the children, and more to do with the adults who gain from maintaining the status quo. Children aren’t fooled by our false piety toward them, however, and during a debate on Capitol Hill over renewing a voucher program that brought hope to District of Columbia school children, most of them black, one was heard to remark, “Why don’t the congressmen who look like us want us to go to better schools?” Why would any adult stand in the way of a child getting the best education possible?

I haven’t even touched on the tragedy of abortion, which has ended millions of children’s lives before they were born, and adults are increasingly comfortable with declaring that children should not only be eliminated according to the parent’s whims while in the womb, but that they have no right to life until they become self-aware, meaning their lives can be terminated by their parents even after birth, should they deem it necessary to their quality of life.

Jesus said, “If anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in me–to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea” (Matthew 18:6). It’s really simple to me. Big people should take care of little people, and if we don’t do it, then we deserve the judgment that comes upon us.

About The Author

Ron Miller

Ron Miller of Lynchburg, Virginia is an associate dean and assistant professor of government at Liberty University, a conservative commentator and author of the book, SELLOUT: Musings from Uncle Tom's Porch. The nine-year plus veteran of the U.S. Air Force and married father of three writes columns for several online sites and print publications, and his own website, RonOnTheRight.com. Join him on FacebookGoogle+ and Twitter. Title and affiliation are provided for identification purposes only. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, Liberty University.

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Comment by kate bows on March 22, 2013 at 10:18pm

Ron, great article. I take it the conversation in your small group went well. I don't think for a minute that your small circle of men would have been silent with you in their group.

There is so much tragedy in the world, but for children to suffer when they rely on their parents and other adults in their lives to guide them in love so they can learn to love has to be among one of the greatest things that hurt God the most. What a different world it would be if we taught our young from an early age all the things that produced character. I think many learn early how to manipulate, lie if it helps you get what you want, cheat to get ahead and all the other things that lead to the mind set that everything is all about "me." No wonder we have teens that grow up and fill our jails and prisons. The family unit is really the fabric of our society. Now I will go to bed thinking about all the children that go to bed hungry not only for lack of food, but for love also.

Comment by Sharon D. Minton on March 22, 2013 at 8:04pm

America trashed the Ten Commandments long ago, rather than stand strong against their removal.  All of Mr. Miller's points are truthful and heartfelt, however, the Good Book says, "A Nation that forgets God shall perish."  We are more than half way there, and our children will mature and grow thinking that a God-less nation is okay.  They will be unable to detect an enemy, as some immigrants will be friend and some will be terrorist who look just like friends.  Just ask a recent military hero returning from over there.

Comment by Judy Lyford on March 21, 2013 at 2:16pm

A man and his wife from my church are both school teachers. They spend up to $300 a month on food for some of their students who are hungry. The mothers get food stamps, but the stamps aren't used for food. It's a shame.

Comment by Lizzie on March 21, 2013 at 2:15pm

I once read about parents in China and India, maiming their children's bodies to make them better beggars.  In America's politicized, unionized, institutionalized educational system, it's done to little minds every day.

Bless your heart, Ron; and thanks for your perspective too.  

Comment by Bob O'Kane-Trombley on March 21, 2013 at 11:49am

My wife has a saying that we tried to implement while raising our 7 children, Give them roots and wings. This is a responsibility we have as parents. No government can provide this. The only thing the government can provide in this area is chains. They will try to make everyone identical even if thy have to drag everyone down to the lowest level. By trying to give our children both roots and wings, we ended up with 5 college graduates, 2 serving in the Armed Services, 1 in medical school, and all trying to live a responsible and healthy life. Of the 2 in the Armed Services, one is currently in the Navy Reserves and has done 2 tours previously with the Army Reserve in Iraq, and the other gave his life in Afghanistan. I am the proud Gold Star Parent of Capt. Thomas Gramith, USAF, KIA Ghazni, Afghanistan, 18 July 2009.

Each of us needs to take individual responsibility to give our children roots and wings, and support our neighbors in their efforts to do the same. Do not acquiesce to the misguided, to say the least, efforts of any government entity to force our children into a predetermined future. And remember also who it was that Jesus said is your neighbor.

Comment by John Mainhart on March 21, 2013 at 11:34am

This is one of the best articles I have ever seen.

God love you.

Comment by A. R. on March 21, 2013 at 11:08am

Dear Heavenly Father,  How great a privilege it is to carry everything (our sons and daughters) to You in prayer.  We love and care for our children and Yours.   Give us the heart of Your Son to reach others with your truth.  May earthly government grow only in your wisdom to please You and become righteous in Your Eyes and bring glory to Your name.  Amen

Comment by Darrell Russell on March 21, 2013 at 9:55am

The out look of the family has changed over the last 50 years, and a drematic shift in the last 15 years. It begines with gays and lesbians making their idealogy known to the world. Ten came cival unions and same sex merriage. The gays have gained their way into the militery and want to get involved in the Boy Scouts of America, not to learn from them but to deteroriate their orgenization. The welfare system does not demand that a family have a mother and a father. Far too many have only one parent and far too many of those mothers are just baby mills. The more babies they have the more money they will recieve from the welfare program.

The whole idea of the progressive left is to bring moral decay to all factions of socity and indroctrenate the children that this is all ok. This is the new normal.I for one am glad at this time in my life that I do not have young children being exposed to these imoral aspects of what is presented as life.

What is at stake? The peace and security that we expect and demand will be compremised. The moral decay will intencisify to a point such as was in the Vi Mar Republic. If you do not know of this time in history, you should get to know about it. This is the path we are on and I realy do notr want to go their. The basic thought of most people in this country is that of, What is in it for me or how will I bennifit from this. When the people of a republic learn how to get money from the tresuer with out working is the day when the republic will fail. 

Comment by Gail E. Engelhardt on March 21, 2013 at 9:36am

Mr. Miller said this very well.  The children of the world deserve better than what they are getting from their parents, government(s), schools and from our legislators.  They have been sold short because of selfish, self-serving individuals.  Shame on all of them.  The one thing Mr. Miller left out of the equation is the fact that our deficit is burdening not only us now, but the children and grandchildren of those of us who are living now, as well as future generations to come.  This is anothe shameful thing that government has given us.  Do they care about the future generations, not in the least for some of them.  It's more important that a self-serving agenda be adhered to than the protection of  future generations.

 

Comment by Richard Eugene Thorton, Jr. on March 21, 2013 at 9:18am

This gentleman has the facts straight. To many Americans are more interested in their lives than their children's lives.  The outcome is a generation of young people with out the foundation for successful lives.

My wife and I (now senior citizens) raised two children.  We saw that they attended private school in their early grade school years.  We saw to it that they got the full benefits of the public educational system in there later education.  We monitored their progress and sometimes forced them to maintain a decent grade point average.  We loved and nurtured them through out their formative years.  We then paid for a college education for both.  Yes, they worked while in college but we paid for their education.  In short, we sacrificed for our children and believe me it was well worth every minute and dollar spent.  The only thing I would do different, I would spend more time and more money on their upbringing.  I have two well adjusted adult offspring who are doing well in life.  They are happy and successful. 

After reading what I wrote above, it sounds like I feel like a martyr.  I DO NOT!  The children were mine and I had a responsibilities.  I have received more blessings from my children than I ever deserved.  The sacrifices we made have been repaid a thousand times over.  My advice, to families raising children, is to support your children, emotionally and physically.  Give them that foundation in life so they can prosper and you will have great joy and satisfaction. 

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