Archive for March 10th, 2009

I have been reading the book The Shack by William Paul Young. This week, I am focusing upon different words of wisdom in the book that can be applied to survivors of child abuse. See my first post for more information about the book.

If somebody asked you if children have a “right” to be protected from child abuse, what would your answer be? Of course, I would say yes. The author of The Shack disagrees.

Now, before you launch a book burning campaign, the author agrees that no child should ever be harmed. However, the answer is not in the child’s “rights” but in the need for relationship.

Let me put this into context. The main character Mack is having a disagreement with a representation of G*d about whether human beings have any “rights.” The other character maintains that mankind has lost the beauty of relationship because we are so focused upon our rights. Mack responds that a child has a right to be protected. Here is the response:

A child is protected because she is loved, not because she has a right to be protected. ~ The Shack, page 139

I was taken aback by this comment, just as Mack was in the book. But, then I got to thinking about why I protect my son. I protect him because I love him. I am not “standing up for” his right to be safe. I instinctively protect him because of how deeply I love him.

So, then I got to thinking about how strongly I feel about protecting abused children. (Remember all of my blog entries promoting the Child Exploitation Act of 2008?) I thought I was promoting the “rights” of these children to be protected from child pornographers, but was I really acting out of love for any child who is being harmed?

Why do I write this blog? It is not because I believe that all child abuse survivors have a “right” to heal but because I love other child abuse survivors and want them to experience healing.

Perhaps the difference between rights to safety and safety through love is semantics, but maybe not. As long as children are protected, I guess I don’t really care how we get there. I just thought that was an interesting point to make.

And, to take it a step farther, do I set boundaries in my life because I have a right to be safe? Or do I set boundaries because I love myself? If I set boundaries because I love myself, then they are going to fall into place naturally as learn to love myself more. That’s something to think about.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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