When we see grown people suffer from abuse, it bothers us, but when we hear or see a child being abused, we are incensed. It reaches us deep in our souls and we cry out for justice for the defenseless. Why doesn’t someone do something? Well, someone did, for ‘Lilly’.
During ancient times, children that were unwanted were sold to pay off family debts, and if they were deformed they were killed or just left to die. Yet some cultures considered children with deformities as special, revered as holy, able to communicate with the gods.
Modern concepts have evolved from locking up children with deformities in asylums, to actively endeavoring to discover and develop the potential that each one has. There are many organizations that are actively helping children and adults with handicaps…
The story of “Lilly” is true. I have changed and left out names and places, to protect the privacy of all involved, but it is a story that needs to be told.
She was born to a very devout but misled couple who did not understand God’s love or His grace. She was born profoundly deaf. ‘Lilly’s’ parents, failed to see her as a blessing from God. They could have found help… even though finances might have been a hardship. There were programs available, books in libraries to help parents raise children with hearing impairments, schools for the deaf… so much help was (and is) available. They could have found support groups where parents gather and share information to help each other face the same challenges. ‘Lilly’s’ parents did NONE of these things. At least they could have institutionalized her, which sounds harsh, but it would have been a blessing compared to what they did.
Because of her parent’s poor knowledge and understanding of God’s word, His love, and grace, and because of their extreme beliefs, they failed to see the potential that was there. Instead they took her imperfection as a sign of some grave sins in their lives. (Like the ‘friends’ of Job, who believed that all suffering was a sign of sin, (Job 4ff). Even the disciples of Jesus had this belief, (John 9:1-2), but Jesus corrected them.
‘Lilly’s’ parents, filled with shame and fear that their primitive fundamentalist friends would judge them as sinful, boarded up the windows of a small room, with a 40 watt bulb for light hanging from the ceiling, and locked her away. (Out of sight…. out of mind.) This was her home and all she knew. For TWENTY ONE YEARS ‘Lilly’ existed in a world of almost non-existent love, human-kindness and communication, no radio, no television, no books, no windows… nothing. Her parents taught her nothing but pain and hardship. The world for her was dark, lonely and uncaring. ‘Lilly’ was ‘planted’ but didn’t have the nourishment to ‘germinate’ and ‘grow’. Yet every seed has the potential for growth under the right circumstances.
In a world where abuse was rampant, Christianity flourished. Everywhere the teachings of Jesus took root, the value of life and family relationships have changed for the better. “Training up a child in the way he should go…”(Proverbs 22:6), NEVER INVOLVED OR CONDONED ABUSE! “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right” (Ephesians 6:1), while it instructs children to obey parents, does not authorize abuse. “Fathers, do not exasperate (act unreasonably) your children; instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
Please… IF REAL ABUSE IS SUSPECTED, GET INVOLVED. Break the cycle of abuse.