Zeeland Elementary School in Grand Rapids, Michigan has put a ban on their students playing the age-old children’s game, tag, because it is too rough for kindergarteners. The concern is that children running in packs might push and knock each other over.
Meanwhile, Weber Middle School in New York has banned “hard” balls such as footballs, soccer balls, and baseballs in order to keep children from potentially getting hurt. They have also banned turning cartwheels without adult supervision.
These anecdotes illustrate the increasing obsession of our society to make the world safe, often at the expense of freedoms. The group thinking seems to be that if there are enough rules, regulations, straps, and padding then perhaps we can make it virtually impossible for someone to get hurt. If we allowed our children today to do all of the things that our parents allowed us to do, then we would likely be viewed as negligent child abusers.
I am all for reasonable precaution. I don’t want my children injured if I can prevent it. The problem is that life is not safe—none of us will survive it. The world is not a safe place to be. Honestly, the world would be better of if we spent as much effort making sure that souls are safe as we do in making sure that bodies are safe.
When people hear that we are moving to Africa with our children, they often ask with skepticism in their voice, “Is it safe?” I don’t feel that we are substantially less safe there than we are here (actually as I look at society I think my children’s souls may be safer in Africa than they are here!), but the truth is that we are not totally safe anywhere. We have to be ok with that. Jesus said in Matthew 16:25, "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” This is one of the great ironies of Christianity. It does not mean that we should be reckless, but it does mean that God’s servants must not let fear inhibit their service,
If fear must be a factor, then let us consider whom to fear. Jesus again says in Matthew 10:28, "Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. “ If we are standing for the truth, then we will meet opposition. Bad people are out there, and they won’t like what we’re doing—both in Africa and America. But in the conflict of this world, I want it to be clear whose side we are standing on. In whatever place we are serving God, let us all boldly declare that we are on the Lord’s side.