It is hard to approach the question of child abuse from a purely objective perspective as the very fact that this happens makes one want to rage. It is a horrible, tragic thing. And it is the kind of question which requires a much longer discussion than a brief few paragraphs…
That being said, there are a number of vantage points we need to consider, questions within the question.
Firstly, there is an element of God’s judgement on display in the wickedness of people. Because mankind has rejected Him, and exchanged our worship of Him for something else (Romans 1:21-32), God has handed us over to where that will lead. When we see the abuse of kids we see what happens to humanity when God is rejected. We see the depths to which we go when He is no longer part of our lives and thinking. In the same breath it is therefore also a call for repentance, when we look at this terrible atrocity, we should be saying: “Oh my God – forgive me! Forgive me, forgive them, heal them, bring them to you. Bring us all back to you, let us see the truth about Jesus and the need to turn back to you – because else it will all be like this…”
Secondly, what are we as God’s people doing about it? Christians are God’s people (1 Peter 2:9-11), living for Him and so he calls us to be His agents here. We are thus to be those who work against the abuse of children – and should never be involved in it! Not only should we work to prevent it – but churches and Christians need to be places & people where abused children can find security. People who show them how God is good, and loving, and his people are too. There is a sense in which we need to ask the question of ourselves as Christians: “why do we allow children to be abused?”
Thirdly, we need to consider the question beneath this question – which I think is: “Don’t you care God that children are being abused? Why don’t you do something?”
God will do something. The abuse of children does not go unnoticed by God – and he will judge the actions of all mankind (Romans 2:5). It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Heb 10:31), and that is what awaits those who abuse children. I shudder to think what judgement God will have in store for them – and so their need for repentance and forgiveness is great! God does care – and evil will not go unpunished.
How do we know that? Because God has also done something. God has given his son Jesus to die – and in his death he dies for the sin of people. Jesus takes on himself the evil of child abusers, and gets punished for it. He takes on himself the evil of those of us who do nothing about it; he takes on himself the evil of those of us who lie, cheat, steal, commit adultery, gossip and slander. He takes on himself the pride of all of us who try to live life without God.
At the cross we see Jesus suffering the results of sin – shame, abuse, neglect and sorrow – both at the hands of the people around him, as well in his separation from God.
At the cross Jesus models the selfless love that his people are called on to practice. He does something for those who are without hope. We see God being serious about forgiveness, and not only providing it for us, but giving us an example of costly forgiveness, and the freedom and life it can bring.
At the cross we see that God is serious about judging all our sin and evil – so serious, he pays the price for it himself, through the death of Jesus.
The question then remains, for us, as well as for those who abuse kids; will you face God on judgement day and have to give an account for your own sins, or will you trust in the payment Jesus has made for them?