A picture is etched in my memory of our then seven year old daughter helping George put on his coat after church. The sweetness of this memory lies in the fact that George was a thirty-something year old man who had muscular dystrophy and needed help doing the simplest of tasks. We were blessed to be part of a church with a ministry to individuals with special needs and it had a most powerful impact on our children. Our four children were not afraid of these often strange acting folks; they realized they just had some special challenges in life.
Another memory comes to mind. It is one of our family standing across the street from our city’s local abortion clinic. We made the trip down every Thursday morning to stand for mothers in crisis and to give voice to their voiceless little ones scheduled to die. Our children did not dread going. In fact they looked forward to this each week to pray for the moms and their babies. For them abortion was not something abstract; it was an unthinkable injustice perpetrated against the most vulnerable among us.
A final picture comes to mind of our four children and son-in-law waiting at the Indianapolis airport for my husband and I, who were returning home with, Katerine, our newly adopted daughter from Guatemala. It didn’t matter to them that she was mentally and physically handicapped. They had prayed for this moment for years and were there to welcome her into their hearts and our home.
One of the most important things we can teach our children as Christ following moms is to be compassionate; to care for those Jesus referred to as “least of these”, (Matthew 25:45). Living in a sin-stained world presents us with ample opportunities such as these to teach compassion.
Our responsibility is to provide the training ground where our children learn to love all people and hate injustice enough to move them beyond lip service and empathy to action; to love as Jesus loved.
As our children learn of God’s love for the oppressed and downtrodden through our example, they will want to begin to care for the least of these as well. I would encourage you to look beyond the messiness of being needy to the joy of serving as Jesus did.
“Speak up for those who have no voice, for the justice of all who are dispossessed. Speak up, judge righteously, and defend the cause of the oppressed and needy.” Proverbs 31:8,9
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