After recently watching the tragic but true story, Oranges and Sunshine, for the fourth time, I couldn't help meditating on the power and necessity of real love, and the inner need for identity that most of us take for granted.
For those who are unfamiliar with the movie, it was based on the 1994 book entitled Empty Cradles, written by Margaret Humphreys. A British social worker, Mrs Humphreys uncovered the obscene scandal of the forced removal of poor children as young as four-years-old from their homes and sending them to Canada and Australia. It resembled the horrific forcible removal of aboriginal children, the stolen generation, from their homes and fostered out.
As part of the coercion, the British children were promised a lifestyle full of "oranges and sunshine," but what most of them got was physical, emotional and sexual abuse.
As David Hill, author of Forgotten Children, stated, "every childhood lasts a lifetime. You maim a child and you'll end up with a maimed adult." One of the motives was money-related, as it cost 90% less to keep a child in Australia than in England.
Many of those children grew up thinking their parents were dead or didn't want them. The parents, on the other hand, were told their children had been adopted out to local families who could care better for them. Quite the opposite happened, they were sent to institutions.
The authorities discovered a huge and growing problem, that some poorer parents could not properly care for their own children for a number of reasons, but was this the answer? It resembled the law that sent people to Australia for stealing a loaf of bread.
What provokes people to think they can make laws like that? What makes them assume they are able to slice a heart in two and send one half to the other side of the world, while still expecting both halves to function?
Jesus said to the lawyers in his day, "Woe also to you experts in the law! You load people with burdens that are too hard to carry, yet you yourselves aren't affected by any of them." (my wording).
The only people who could design and implement such heinous laws are those whose own children remained unaffected by them.
The movie highlights the abuse of these children, and their desperate desire to belong — to find their birth certificate and true identity. The authorities' attempt to provide those children with a new identity was an abysmal failure.
As I reflected on the childhood trauma, the subject of trust entered my head. Trust is such a small word with so much meaning, and not to be lightly handled. I thought about how wonderful is our Father in heaven. A Father whose love is protective and our identity sure in him. We trust him. His word means something, and he stands by it.
When he designed laws, he made certain his own Son had to live by them as well as others. King David said in Psalm 19, "the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul."
All those abusive laws accomplished was a broken generation, converting loving children into despondent, depressed and angry adults. One concerning feature was that well-known churches and charities were involved in the development and execution of this child-destroying legislation that came from the pit of hell.
When we compare that attitude to the principles of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, who said, "suffer little children to come unto me, for of such is the kingdom of heaven, " we see a mentor who seeks our best interest. God adopts us, and we become family with Jesus, who loved us to his death.
To create loving and complete adults the mould-making begins in childhood. Jesus understood that. The Holy Spirit heals us from the abuses of life. We are provided with a family who loves us and are enabled to walk with him in peace and safety.
The memories of the past rarely go, but the pains of it are washed away by the newness of life. They are healed by the cherishing of a truly loving Father.
By allowing the Holy Spirit into every part of our hearts, a cleansing happens. A restoration begins and doesn't stop until we get complete healing through the shed blood and restorative nature of Jesus Christ. He removes all hurt.
Today's prayer: Dear Lord, it makes me sad to hear of those children who, through no fault of their own, were robbed of parents, identity and most of all love. You are my heavenly Father, so thank you for the love that fills my heart, and thank you that I am a part of your loving family through the death of Jesus.