Scriptural Passages Condemning Child Abuse
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
–Jesus Christ (Matthew 19:14)
Throughout the Bible, God makes clear that child abuse is a sin and that our Lord cares deeply for the suffering. Nowhere is this more clear than in the life and teachings of Jesus.
The life and teachings of Jesus
The Gospel writers tell us that Jesus repeatedly expressed compassion toward children and issued harsh warnings to those who would hurt them. Indeed, his very life on earth makes clear the Lord’s condemnation of the sin of child abuse.
The Bible tells us that Jesus was the descendant of a sexually exploited woman (Joshua 2, Joshua 6:22-25; Hebrews 11:31; Matthew 1:5) and was frequently seen in the company of those who were sexually exploited (Matthew 9:10). Not only did Jesus minister to the sexually abused, He promised them the very kingdom of God (Matthew 21:31). Our Lord scolded the disciples for keeping children away from him and warned that it would be better to be drowned in the sea with a millstone around our neck than to hurt a child (Matthew 18:6). Jesus said that the angels of children have direct access to God (Matthew 18:10) and that the spiritual insight of children often exceeds that of the most learned theologians (Matthew 21:15-16; Luke 10:21).
Jesus also had strong words for those who preached in his name but failed to care for those who were suffering—promising to one day tell these false Christians “I never knew you” (Matthew 7:23; Matthew 26:41-45).
Jesus also knows what it is like to be abused. According to the prophet Isaiah, Jesus is a Savior who was “despised and rejected of men” and who “carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:3-4). As a baby, Jesus narrowly escaped being murdered (Matthew 2:16). As a man, Jesus was stripped of his clothing, mocked, beaten and tortured to death. Clearly, Jesus is a God who truly understands all the world can do to a child. If you are a survivor of abuse, know that when you pray to Jesus you are not communicating with a distant, cosmic spirit. You are praying to the God of the universe who took on flesh and suffered with and for us.
Biblical passages addressing the sin of child abuse
In addition to the Gospel writers, the other books of the Bible contain numerous condemnations of the sin of abuse and neglect—and repeatedly cry for justice and mercy for victims.
The following verses condemn physical abuse:
The following verses condemn sexual abuse:
The Bible also describes the impact of sexual abuse on the victim: 2 Samuel 13:19-20
Neglect is condemned in 1 Timothy 5:8.
Emotional or verbal abuse is condemned in the following verses:
Spiritual abuse is condemned in the following verses:
The responsibility of leaders to protect the vulnerable
The following verses remind us of the responsibility of leaders to aid and protect the vulnerable:
The obligation of Christians to confront abuse and other types of evil
These verses address the obligation of leaders to confront abuse and other types of evil:
God’s judgment on unrepentant abusers
These verses address God’s judgment on abusers: