The recent occasions when innocent children have become prey to ruthless predatory behavior have incensed people. Some of these children have lost their lives at the hands of those who would exploit them for personal gain, while others have found their lives in shambles because of the scars they've worn.
The frequency of these unconscionable acts have rocked trust in the clergy of one denomination and have left parents fearful for their children's well-being. Something needs to be done.
A series of articles contained in the pages of this newspaper a number of years ago dealt with the world's growing problem of child prostitution. A comment from one of these articles offers a key to solving the problem. In essence, it stated that crimes against children stem from a hatred of purity. That makes perfect sense, because how could one truly love the purity of a child, or oneself for that matter, and still be willing to stain it?
Recognizing the problem as a hatred of purity also provides insight into how we can participate in the solution.
Each one of us constituting this society will have a tremendous impact if we will regain our individual love for purity in general and for the purity of our children in particular.
Likewise, we must be willing to teach children to love it as much as we do. As we gain a genuine, deep-down, heartfelt love of purity, we'll find ourselves living more purely and setting an example for those around us. This isn't such a hard task when we realize that purity is innate to each one of us.
Despite the fact that many in our society denigrate or make mockery of it, purity offers untold promise for those valuing it. Perhaps the one most identified with this quality was Christ Jesus, who was called, the "Immaculate," which means "without stain or blemish." That's about as pure as one can be.
Throughout his healing ministry, Jesus pointed to purity as an essential quality of healing. This is no less true today. So many challenges we face regarding our children have to do with society's general malaise with respect to purity.
In the book of Matthew, there is an account of Jesus calling a small child to him and placing this child in the middle of his disciples, who were trying to decide who among themselves would be the greatest.
Jesus rebuked their arrogance with the example of this child, when he said, "Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me" (Matt. 18:35).
Gaining the humility and purity of a child is a mighty aspiration. They are essential to healing society's many ills, starting with the violation of its own children. In fact, just imagine for a moment what society would be like if each one of us were to hold dear the purity of our children and ourselves. Wouldn't we treat every living creature, including ourselves, with more respect? Wouldn't we be less willing to pollute our minds, our bodies, and the environment?
Purity not only holds promise for the well-being of our children, but for each one of us. True purity brings us into alignment with God in the same way that Christ Jesus was one with God. It allows us to see our own godliness and that of another, which promises tremendous healing for our children, ourselves, and our society.
In one of his beatitudes, Christ Jesus outlined the need and promise of true purity, when he said, "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God" (Matt. 5:8).
Ultimately, if we start with pure hearts ourselves, we will call out the innate purity of those on whom our thought rests, not only our children but also those who would perpetrate such an injustice against them. In this way, we can play a significant role in healing the violation of our children's purity.