“Debbie, thank you for your prayers. But we lost. Instead of looking at the man’s extensive record of abuse and drug addiction, the judge chose to believe the best. The man promised to do better, so the judge granted joint custody.”
Emotion choked me. How could this happen?
My years as a counselor opened my eyes to the lasting impact an abusive family holds over the children they raise. When adults use children as pawns to punish one another, the children suffer—sometimes for the rest of their lives.
Research shows childhood injuries can impact not only social and emotional health but also physical health. You can learn more about ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) here.
But Jesus said, ‘Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these’” (Matt. 19:14 NASB).
Heart-broken parents have told me, “I didn’t think my parents would hurt their own grandchildren.” Yet those same parents abused the adults that sat before me when they were children. If they harmed their own child, why would they be different with their grandchild?
Discernment feels mean to some people. They don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. They think good people believe the best. Yet, that is not what Christ practiced.
Jesus cared more about a person’s eternal soul than their feelings. He never sacrificed the innocent to help a corrupt person feel better about themselves. He warned God’s people against their religious leaders.
Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, saying: ‘The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them’” (Matt. 23:1-3 NASB).
When a person speaks God’s truth, we follow the truth. But we separate the truth from the corrupt person. Just because someone says something that is right doesn’t mean we can trust them to live right.Just because someone says something that is right doesn’t mean we can trust them to live right. #discernment #RefreshingFaith Click To Tweet
Jesus also warned the hypocritical leaders. J. Vernon McGee points out how Jesus used “scathing, biting, sarcasm.” Here’s a sample.
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves. …
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. …
You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?” (Matt. 23:15, 27, 33 NASB).
Years after the phone call about losing full custody, the caller contacted me again. This time she was in tears. The impact of the judge’s foolish decree had played out on the child and family. They were ready to try again and prayed for a righteous judge. In other words, they were practicing biblical love which “always protects, … always perseveres” (1 Cor. 13:7 NIV).
We must stand against evil. We must fight to protect our children against wicked influences. Don’t believe the best because of what someone says. Watch what they do. Discernment is godly and good. Jesus practiced it and told us to also.
Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?” (Matt. 7:15-16 NASB).
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