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“Go now and leave your life of sin.” ~ John 8:11b

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” ~ II Corinthians 5:17

“I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior.” ~ Isaiah 43:11

A friend shared this photo on Facebook.  The imagery is, in a word, arresting.

It comes from a print campaign aimed at raising awareness about the fact that 70% of people who were abused as children will grow up to abuse their own children.  It is a horrifying cycle, trapping those within it and condemning them to repeat the behavior that had been inflicted upon them when they were too small and helpless to stop it.

The goal of the campaign is to break the cycle of abuse.  I applaud that goal, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that people need more than posters to be able to stop the pattern.  They need Christ to change them.

In order to bring something as terrible as child abuse to a halt, we need people to be changed from the inside out.  A change that topples the regime of generation of abusers takes more than sheer willpower.  It takes an honest-to-goodness change of the heart.

And that change of heart can come from only one place: the blood of Christ.  Without His sacrifice for our sins, people couldn’t make this kind of change.  He has to make us into a new creation, someone who doesn’t wear the chains of bondage that were forged throughout their lives.

Too often we demand people change before we allow them to get close to church.  We impress upon them the need to clean up their act before they can come to Jesus.  Instead, we need to be reaching out, encouraging them to come before Him, just as they are – ragged and in need of help.  Jesus loves them too much to leave them that way.  If they are willing to fall before Him, He will heal them and change their heart.

Pray for the people that are imprisoned by abuse – both the abusers and the innocent children that are suffering through it.  And pray that we, as the Church, can find ways to reach those involved and help them to the healing, changing love of Jesus.