(Editor's Note from Sarah: I wrote this post back in November of 2007. It got a lot of response from readers. In light of the ABC story by Dan Harris, I thought I would repost this...)
Can a child be a witch? How about a demon possessed kid? A recent New York Times article reports a growing phenomenon in Angola, Congo and the Congo Republic. Parents and families call a child a witch and kick them out on the street. They beat these children and worse.
Sharon LaFraniere's article is a startling and compelling read. She goes on to explain that it's not truly a matter of the children being witches or being demon possessed. It is more a case of families being unable to care for their children. It seems calling your kid a witch is the surest way to "divorce" yourself from your child; some go so far as to beat their children. The families cannot pay for the children, so they get rid of them. Witchcraft seems to be only an excuse. This is so heartbreaking.
The article continues on to say that there are not enough places to care for these children. I am telling you, you've got to read this article!
Here's where true believers in Jesus Christ need to step in. God's best is for His people to take care of widow's and orphans. I cannot say for sure, but my guess is that if there was a big humanitarian push to bring aid to these regions of Africa, this strange practice would be nearly obliterated.
Couple the aid with the teachings of Jesus. All are precious in His sight. Children are a blessing. That God loves us as a good, all-caring Father. There is hope for the future.
The Bible does talk about children being possessed by demons, but in every instance, Jesus casts out the demons with a word. He heals them and sends them home. There are several of these cases...
Mark seven recounts how Jesus heals a little girl from demon possession. All it took was the mother's faith in Him and a word from the Master.
In Luke nine, a boy was possessed by a demon. As Jesus came nearer, the demon "threw him to the ground in a convulsion." Jesus rebuked the evil spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father.
In Matthew 17, a boy was being thrown in fire and water - literally being destroyed by the demonic spirit. But Jesus healed him.
In the case of these children in these various countries in Africa, I hope and pray there would be those who would reach out to these families in Christian love. And help meet their physical, mental and spiritual needs. This practice of abusing children in the name of "religion" must end.
I'd love to know your thoughts! Please leave your feedback or e-mail me directly.