By Randy Krantz
Prior to becoming a lawyer, I practiced professional nursing in a trauma center. I had the privilege of providing emergency medical care to patients of all ages suffering from injuries caused by motor vehicle crashes, gunshot wounds, accidents, and the intentional infliction of physical and emotional abuse and neglect. In far too many instances, these patients were children.
As a prosecutor, I am responsible for the firm, but fair, administration of justice. My office is the emergency department of the legal system. I am confronted daily with cases involving the physical and emotional trauma associated with victims of violent crime. Children frequently experience the trauma of being a crime victim.
I also prosecute or otherwise provide the intervention, support, and accountability for children that have committed a criminal or delinquent act. Many are involved with drugs, gang activity, sexual aggression, robbery, theft, and other dangerous behaviors. By the time a significant number of them become involved in the juvenile or adult criminal justice system, their lives are in a downward spiral that prevents them from becoming productive members of society. While most juveniles are diverted out of the criminal justice system through the dedicated efforts of parents, teachers, police officers, court personnel, and mental health professionals; the societal and economic costs are huge. In emergency medicine, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” The same is true for young people entering the juvenile justice system.
I believe that a critical component of any successful preventative approach to juvenile crime is the opportunity for all children to learn their true identity in Christ. Every child, adolescent, and youth deserves our best efforts to help them know that they were each uniquely and wonderfully created by a God that loves them and desires the very best for them.
If we fail to provide the next generation with the knowledge of their true identity in Christ, they will seek to establish their identity in alternative ways that can lead them on to self-destructive paths. Alcohol, drugs, sexual promiscuity, gangs, internet predators, and many other false, yet seductive, alternatives are abundantly available to them. Our children cannot “…find their incalculable worth until they realize who they were made by and made for and how much God spent to pay for them. They have been made by God and paid for by God at the cost of His Son.” 1 Our children, adolescents, and teenagers are especially loved by Christ.
As an emergency medical care provider, I was taught the doctrine of the “Good Samaritan Law.” 2 A state’s “Good Samaritan Law” provides legal protection to people who give assistance to others that are injured, ill, or otherwise in need of emergency care. The purpose of such laws is to encourage people to come to the assistance of those that may desperately need help or rescue. They are based on the parable of the “Good Samaritan” found in Luke’s Gospel. 3
In that parable, Jesus told of a man that was attacked by robbers who left him stripped, beaten, and left to die by the side of a road. 4 Two different people saw the injured man but decided to do nothing to help him. 5 They had the ability to help. They could have helped him. They did nothing. It was a Samaritan that had compassion on the hurt and dying man, and who cared enough to give his time, talent, and resources to help him. 6 He is now known as the “Good Samaritan.” Our various states’ Good Samaritan Laws are based on his act of good faith care, concern, and action toward someone in need. The Good Samaritan is our example of a good neighbor.
Today the persistent and pervasive secular culture is robbing the next generation, our future citizens and leaders, of their true identity in Christ. They are also being robbed by a “monolithic secularism” that is “depriving them of a shared moral consensus broadly informed by a biblical worldview.” 7 Cast adrift, and heavily influenced by a culture that actively denies their identity in Christ; it is no wonder that many of our children, adolescents, and youth are being transformed into victims, victimizers, or both. All of them are our neighbors robbed of their identity and left on the side of the road.
How will we respond to this crisis? Some have chosen to perpetuate the corruption and disillusionment of a secularism that promotes a value free and morally bankrupt culture. They have adopted the attitude of the robbers in Jesus’ parable. Theirs is an attitude of “What is yours is mine, and I will take it from you.” I see this attitude reflected in the life narratives of young people every day in the courtroom. They have been abused, neglected, exploited, and deceived by a culture that denies them the knowledge of their true identity in Christ. As bad as the attitude of the robbers certainly is, the attitude of the two that did not help the injured man is equally destructive. They were too busy, too apathetic, and too distracted to help. Their attitude was “What is mine is mine, and I will keep it.” They would not share their time, talents, and resources to help rescue someone that was desperately in need of help. Apathy does not help us protect our young people and prevent them from entering the criminal justice system. It will only make a bad situation worse. A proactive, engaged, and caring response is needed to educate, support, and guide the next generation.
The purposeful compassion of Good Samaritans willing to help the next generation discover their true identity in Christ is necessary. To fail to respond to the need for our future generations to discover a Christian worldview is to leave them beaten, broken, and abandoned by the side of Secular Humanism’s road to rejection, despair, and destruction. Instead, our attitude and response must mirror that of the “Good Samaritan.” We must provide compassionate, engaged, and purposeful action that declares “What is mine is yours, and I will give it.” What attitudes and actions will we choose? How will we be the Good Samaritans that come to the rescue of the future generations of young people who have yet to discover their true identity in Christ? It is within the home, faith, community, and classroom that the “foundation stones of character are laid, the principles which govern life are established, and the mental and moral habits are fixed.” 8 It is precisely in these settings that the battle for the souls of our children, at each stage of their growth and development, must be fought and won. Their identity in Christ must be intentionally articulated and defended. Failure to faithfully help them discover, understand, and apply a Christian worldview in all areas of their lives is to abandon them to the arguments and ideas that construct walls around their minds and that prevent them from knowing who they really are – children of God.
Randy Krantz has served as the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Bedford City/County, VA for twenty years. He holds an associate’s degree in Professional Nursing from Virginia Western Community College, a bachelor’s degree in public service from Lynchburg College, a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Richmond, and a master’s in Religion from Liberty University with emphasis on Christian Leadership.
1. Ron Hutchcraft, “The Battle for a Generation,” as quoted in the Complete Guide of Christian Quotations. Uhrichsville: Barbour Publishing (2011), p. 485
2. Code of Virginia Section 8.01-225
3. Luke 10:25-37
5. vv. 31-32
6. vv. 33-35
7. Nancy Pearcey, Saving Leonardo: A Call to Resist the Secular Assault on Mind, Morals, and Meaning. Nashville: B&H Publishing (2010), p.13
8. School Committee Public Documents of Massachusetts (1866) the Complete Guide to Christian Quotations, p. 269
This article originally appeared in The Renewanation Review® magazine.