Monday, March 8, 2010

Valuing the Children

Last night, I attempted to watch the movie "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas." I couldn't make it through the whole thing because the beginning was far too slow. I kept waiting for some action to happen. I did, however, watch the end of the movie. So I watched the first 20 minutes and the last 15 minutes. Not bad. To summarize for those who haven't seen it, a commander in the German army gets a new post during World War II, and despite the objections of many in his close family (and a warning from his mother), he takes the job of overseeing a Nazi death camp. His wife thinks for much of the movie that it is a work camp. Predictably, their son makes friends with a young Jewish boy through the fence. One thing leads to another, and their son ends up dying along with the Jewish boy in a gas chamber. It was horrific - even without watching the majority of the movie and getting attached to the characters, there were tears.

When the parents find out their son was killed, they grieve deeply. They did love their son, but they did not love him enough to remove him from harm's way. All I kept thinking while I watched the end and for a while afterwards was the dad fulfilled his ambition, but at what cost? The cost of his son's life.

It made me think of the Bible story from I Kings 16:34. In this story, Hiel rebuilt the city of Jericho despite the warning that whoever rebuilt it would do so at the cost of his firstborn son and his youngest son. I've read/heard different commentaries that this was actually a child sacrifice ritual and not just that he was cursed for the rebuilding and this happened, but I'm not sure how true that is. Either way, it doesn't matter for this post.

No ambition fulfilled, no great legacy, etc. is worth it if it costs us the very children that God has given us to raise up. In my case, I don't have natural children, but there are those children who I minister to regularly. I believe God has given them to me, not to replace their parents in ANY way, but to help raise them up to what He has called them to be. I have a responsibility for them. And nothing, no dream, no desire, is worth compromising their lives.

It doesn't have to be as extreme as death in the first two examples. But I don't want to ever place value on my ambition, my reputation, anything at the expense of these little ones. At times, their spiritual lives could very well be at stake if not their natural lives.

So, to any parents, ministers, etc. reading this, please realize that the little ones are always watching. More importantly, God is watching. There is nothing more important than preserving the lives God has entrusted to you.

Luke 17:1-2 says "Jesus said to his disciples: 'Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.'"

No comments:

Post a Comment