Archive for June, 2014

The Apple of our Father’s Eye

Just imagine if every single girl in your local sixth-form college was snatched by extremists who threatened to sell them into slavery or force them into marriage…

Hard to picture, isn’t it?

That would never happen here, would it…?

That is precisely what has happened in north-east Nigeria. Islamist militants Boko Haram snatched more than 200 teenage girls from a boarding school in Chibok, a mainly Christian area. The night raid took place in April. And still the girls are missing…

Nigerian Schoolchildren

Children in Nigeria face significant threats to their education

Because, despite a huge international outcry over the outrage and the global #BringBackOurGirls campaign, the Nigerian government has failed to rescue the girls. Yet more women and girls have been abducted in the same region since then, despite a heavy security presence.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and his government have come in for some tough criticism. In the UK, there’s an outcry if just one child is abducted.

It’s easy to point the finger. But maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to blame others for inaction.

Just how loudly do we shout for the many thousands of children who suffer abuse and violence every year, every day? In northern Uganda, the Lord’s Resistance Army abducted more than 20,000 children during its reign of terror. The international media, the international community, barely noticed.

What about the millions of children forced into hard labour worldwide so that we can enjoy cheap goods? What about the increasing numbers of children being trafficked into the UK to be exploited as ‘gardeners’ in cannabis factories or forced to be beggars or petty criminals (according to ECPAT)?

Perhaps it’s lack of imagination. We’re readily outraged when a child like Madeleine McCann goes missing because, well, her family is a bit like ours. Yet we remain silent over the plight of millions of other children.

We need to feel this outrage about every child on the planet who is suffering harm. Every single one.

That’s the passion and drive behind the work of BCT and our partners. They put huge value on the life of a single child – whether they be a child in prison or one living rough on the street, whether they’re a child who cannot walk due to disability or a child who has been outcast as a ‘witch’.

We believe that every child is made in God’s image, invaluable, unique. So we should give our all for just one child. It is worth searching the streets day and night for just one child sleeping under the market bench. It is worth challenging governments and courts alike over the plight of one child who’s been tortured for being a ‘witch’.

Let’s never become so hardened in our hearts that we ignore the plight of the one child. As for the girls abducted in Nigeria, let’s ‘pour out our hearts like water’ before God on their behalf. Let’s insist governments move heaven and earth to rescue and reconcile those girls to their families. And let’s try harder to see every single child as precious and the apple of our heavenly Father’s eye.

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