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Protecting the most vulnerable: our children

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During the 2022 legislative session, I had an opportunity both in the Georgia House and the Senate to testify in favor of public school parental rights legislation (“The Parents Bill of Rights”, SB 449) that was authored by Representative Josh Bonner and signed into law by Gov. Brian Kemp.

In representing Georgia Baptists, I confirmed that we agreed with the legislation regarding parental involvement in public schools based on three points:

  • We agreed with it in principle. We believe that parents do have a fundamental right to direct the upbringing and the education of their minor children.
  • We agreed with it in practice. We believe that there should always be practical ways that are fair, transparent, and accountable for parents to stay informed regarding the teaching of their children.
  • We agreed with it in priority. We believe that children are not only society’s most valuable asset, but also its most vulnerable liability.

It is on this last point that I want to focus for this article.

Children are one of the most vulnerable groups of people in our nation. We're living in a day when children are suffering the most from societal ills that are facing our culture. Whether it's abortion, sex abuse or school shootings, children are reaping the greatest consequences of the most grievous social ills of our time.

I have stated on numerous occasions that, “If we (the church) don’t at least care about the impact the culture is having upon our children, then what kind of ‘gospel’ are we preaching?”

The Lord Jesus himself placed one of the highest levels of responsibility on the care and protection of children when he said “but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea (Matthew 18:6 NASB).”

Today we need to understand that God calls upon all parents, all governments, and yes, all adults to act as shepherds when it comes to caring for the welfare of our children. We should all know that the first responsibility of a shepherd is to protect his sheep.

Protection is more important than feeding and leading sheep. Think of it this way. If sheep are not alive there is no need to feed or to lead them.

 So, the first responsibility of a shepherd is to protect their sheep from any harm. They must remain protected if the shepherd is going to lead them to places to feed them!

With the onslaught of matters such as abortion, sex abuse and school shootings, children are facing their most difficult days in our nation. While it may not be a comfortable subject, abortion is where this issue of protection must begin.

The value and respect for human life, for example, children, must begin inside of the mother's womb at conception. If there is no respect for the nature and value of human life inside of the mother's womb, then there is going to be a decrease in the value and the nature of human life outside of the womb!

We must begin with the fact based on the book of Genesis that human beings are all created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27). All human beings have purpose and value because God created them in His Image!

The fact of the matter is that effective legal and practical protection for all innocent human life begins with understanding that all persons are created in the image of God at the moment of fertilization. Therefore, at that moment, it carries with it the same responsibility of respect that we have for God.

Nothing exceeds our need to respect God first! Parenthetically respecting God and his creation of human beings (persons) impacts our willingness to do all that we can to protect human life beginning with the most vulnerable: our children.

People are constantly asking why we are experiencing the devastation of abortion, sex abuse and school shootings in our country. It is very simple. When we have a lack of belief in and respect for God it creates a lack of respect for human life created in God's image.

When we allow our children to be taught that they are nothing more than an animal and that there is no God, then we should not be surprised that the older they get, the more they will be tempted to act like animals. And when they are older, they will live without clear moral standards. Therefore, the conclusion to this line of thinking is that it impacts their ability to respect and protect the lives of others.

A godless life produces godlessness. The more respect we have for God, the more respect we will have for others.

And there is no greater respect I know than the way God demonstrated his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us that we might be forgiven of our sins by believing on Him (Rom. 5:8; Jn. 3:16).  God proves that He is a just and holy God, and that he is also a God that demonstrates His love for all people unconditionally.

Calvary proves that He is a God that is gracious and merciful to all. Once that model of living is in hearts, it has an awesome impact on how people in any culture or society treat one another.

We have to be reminded that our country was based upon a Judeo-Christian ethic, that all people are created equal. God calls upon our government (as stated in the Declaration of Independence) to protect our God-given rights of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”!

In these times like never before, may we all reach out to God in directing us to protect our must vulnerable: our children!

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