“Do you think my mother would love me if she wasn’t on drugs?” What a traumatic loss for a 13-year-old girl. What a heartbreaking question for her adopted mother. The unbreakable bond of a child’s love still drives her to understand why.

The world is full of children living in torment and fear in their own homes. Their parents curse and beat them. Their fathers and uncles sexually abuse them. Their mothers drink and take pills until they pass out and leave infants to fend for themselves. These children go to school hungry and  grow up angry. The more they see kids from loving, stable families the more frustrated they become. They feel worthless and don’t trust anyone. They have no regard for rules because the only rule they know is to survive.

The government cannot fix this problem. Sometimes government can help and sometimes government can do more harm than good in this area, but overall it is not equipped to handle this breakdown in the home.

Just analyzing the situation isn’t enough. We can preach all day about problems in society being caused by failure in the home, but unless we’re willing to do something about it our words won’t go very far. It’s not enough to analyze. We have to act.

We can get so secure and comfortable in our homes that we are deaf to the cries of the afflicted. The great prophet of Tekoa rebuked the people who were so busy enjoying their nice couches and good food that they had no sympathy for the hardships of others (Amos 6:1-6).

How religious are you? The Bible doesn’t use the word “religion” much, but when it does we should pay attention. Pure religion means helping orphans and widows (James 1:27). We debated the orphan home issue years ago, but what are we doing about it?

“But what can I do?” To start with, get outside your comfort zone, open your eyes, and have compassion on children who are not in homes like your own. They didn’t choose their parents any more than you did. Speak an encouraging word to a neglected child. Take children from bad homes to church and teach them the Bible. Buy needy boys and girls a coat or some shoes. Give to orphan homes. Adopt children if you can. If you can’t, encourage those who can and help those who have adopted. Cook the parents a meal or give them a break by taking the kids somewhere fun. If you’re a preacher or an elder, teach the congregation how to practice pure religion with your words and your example. Don’t have a hard heart because these children have behavior issues. Yes, helping them may burn you or bless you, but that one child who proves to be a blessing is worth it all. Above all, pray for them.

There is hope for children in broken and bad homes. The Bible says they can do better than their parents (Ezek. 18:14). Jesus said we find many fathers and mothers and children in the church (Matt. 19:29). Most of all, when earthly relationships fail, the Father in heaven is more than willing to be that father figure: “When my father and mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up” (Psalm 27:10).

-Kerry Duke

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