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 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 25:41-45).
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.