Around the world, images of child exploitation are pervasive. Anything that prompts action against it is helpful, but sometimes the magnitude of the problem is daunting.
We can help the children of the world with prayer, and it's important to start by recognizing children's true status. If we hold children to be just small, undeveloped, biochemical beings, we may be trapped into thinking of them as always risking attack and deception. But if we are able to see them differently -- spiritually, as God created them -- we can recognize that they have inherent strength and invulnerability.
God created each individual in His image and likeness. This identity is not material and mortal. It is spiritual and perfect, like God Himself. God's creation is finished. Nothing that He created has to become His image -- whatever He creates is immediately and eternally complete.
Every individual God created reflects each quality of His, even as each work of a certain artist reflects the artist's particular style. God's "style," the Godliness reflected in everything He creates, includes peace, strength, intelligence, love, invulnerability. It is only good, because God is only good. God couldn't create anything or anyone without those attributes. It's just not His style. He wouldn't create one work of art capable of hurting or attacking another. Each of us already has all that is good; good does not come to us as a result of our getting older or physically bigger.
Christ Jesus taught this. Once, when some children were brought to him to be blessed, Jesus' disciples attempted to turn them away (see Mark 10:13-16). In that time adulthood was respected, while youth was often disregarded. But Jesus taught his disciples something new. He explained that in order to receive the kingdom of God, one must become "as a little child." The Bible says, "And he took [the children] up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them."
The book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures explains the spiritual message of the Bible, including the teachings of Jesus. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, wrote in it, "Jesus loved little children because of their freedom from wrong and their receptiveness of right" (p. 236). This "freedom from wrong" comes from strength, not vulnerability. As we recognize all children as always connected to the one Father-Mother God, we can expect to see evidence that He is speaking directly to them, guiding them away from danger and into safety. Each child has a direct link to wisdom. Not one has to "grow up" to get it. It is inherent always.
When my daughter was small, her father and I separated. After having been in a two-parent household with a stay-at-home mother, she had to face moving, being apart from her father, full-time day care, and having a working mother. I had heard that abrupt changes of this sort in a child's life are often thought to cause emotional damage.
But in preparing for her birth some years before, my husband and I had studied Christian Science, to learn about her true origin as God's perfect child. She was not our creation then, nor was she now the cumulative result of our human influence on her -- she was complete, with her own identity, established by God. That foundational prayer, recalled, enabled me to understand her as completely unharmed by the changes that came from our new circumstances.
As the years have progressed, I have been so grateful that our daughter has never displayed the behavioral or emotional problems sometimes associated with broken homes. In fact, when I have mentioned the situation to her schoolteachers, they have invariably responded with surprise. She is a delightful, normal child, full of joy and love of life.
The completeness of each of our children is established and intact. Its source is in God. When our prayers for children foster this conviction, we bring out increasing evidence of every individual's freedom from wrong. Let's join together to bring more of this understanding to our world.
*You can find other articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine.