...is best for our children - yours, mine and others'.
Last week while our children were listening to the audio Bible, (as they like to do when we're driving), these Old Testament verses practically screamed at me:
If you find an ox or a donkey that has wandered off, take it back where it belongs, even if the owner is your enemy. If a donkey is overloaded and falls down, you must do what you can to help, even if it belongs to someone who doesn’t like you. (Exodus 23:4-5 - Contemporary English Version)
I just said to myself, if God gave His people this commandments to "care" for their enemy (and his/her animal(s)), what do you think He requires from us - in looking out for each other and especially when it relates to our children?
An Ancient African Proverb says:
"It takes a village to raise a child."
In Africa there are variations to this proverb such as:
"A child is a child of everyone." ~Sudanese proverb
"One knee does not bring up a child."
~ Tanzanian proverb
"One hand does not nurse a child." ~ East & Central African proverb
Are you shaking your head - in disagreement? I encourage you to keep reading - hopefully, you'll nod in agreement when you're done reading this...
When you take a step back to process these proverbs, you'll realize that how each child turns out is either a blessing or curse (God forbid) to not just that child's family but to the community and world at large. There are too many recent sad examples - just listen to the news: young adults killing children and other really horiffic instances. A lot of the investigations point back to a defect in the individuals' families and their upbringing.
Let's try this another way - by inserting the word "child" in the verse quoted above...
If you find a child that has wandered off, take him/her back where he/she belongs, even if his/her parents/guardians are your enemy. If a child is overloaded and falls down, you must do what you can to help, even if he/she belongs to someone who doesn’t like you. (Sapphire's personalization of Exodus 23:4-5)
If looking out for another person's donkey could give God pleasure - imagine how much happier He'd be with us when we look out for other people's children. I know that there are people who want to be left alone - to live in their box.* However, it is interesting how quickly some of them break out of the box when their children don't turn out right. I'm not saying that we should become busy-bodies because we are trying to help "raise each child." What I am saying is that as much as possible, let the children around you know that you care for them - because you look out for them.
Let's do more than the people in the Old Testament - and look out for our & others' children.
With 9 days to Christmas and 15 before this leap year ends, purpose to give better than "donkey-care" to children and others around us. As God helps us, let's help each other...