Stories & Commentaries

God Sees the Little Sparrow Fall

Words to remember as the enditnow Summit on Abuse draws near.

Sparrow that fell out a nest, human holding it

iStock Photography

“Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows” (Matt. 10:29-31, NASB).

Our Heavenly Father watches tenderly over His little sparrows. And this tender watchfulness is a responsibility of the church as well. In 1880, Ellen White wrote that “the church as a whole is in a degree responsible for the wrongs of its individual members because they countenance the evil in not lifting up their voice against it (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 491).

Almost two decades earlier, White wrote to an elder of the church in very strong words regarding his course in showing sympathy to a church member with respect to a sexual misconduct matter involving a minor: 

“I was shown that you had been wrong in sympathizing with E. The course you have taken in regard to him has injured your influence, and has greatly injured the cause of God. It is impossible for E to be fellowshipped by the church of God. … A standing rebuke from God and the church must ever rest upon him, that the standard of morality be not lowered to the very dust. The Lord is displeased with your course in these things.”[1]

As a church, we have earnestly grappled with how to approach these abhorrent situations. In March 1993 the North American Division established a “Sexual Ethics Commission.”[2] Today, I’m grateful to the NAD’s enditnow for their ministry, and other NAD endeavors as illustrated by E 87 in the North American Division of the General Conference Working Policy.[3] Tireless efforts to bring education to our leaders and members regarding procedure by NAD and Adventist Risk Management[4] are also greatly valued.

In 2007, it was determined that more than 7,000 claims of sexual abuse by church staff, congregation members, volunteers, or the clergy were made to just three insurance companies over a 20-year period. In 2018, a study of more than 300 alleged child sexual abuse cases in protestant Christian congregations found the overwhelming majority took place on church grounds, or at the offender’s home, most frequently carried out by Caucasian, male clergy or youth pastors.”[5]

While the devastation of abuse, including domestic violence may not be fully understood unless experienced, we may all practice compassion and loving support through acts of kindness and familiarizing ourselves with proper procedures for prevention, reporting and healing in our churches. The statistics[6] alone should alarm us into these steps.

As we move closer to the enditnow Summit On Abuse, we pray that our members will purpose in their hearts to stand for the vulnerable among us.[7]

God sees the little sparrow fall,

it meets his tender view;

if God so loves the little birds,

I know he loves me too.[8]

— Grace Macintosh is legal counsel for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Canada.

Summit on Abuse

The enditnow Virtual Summit on Abuse on Nov. 14 (English) and Nov. 15 (Spanish) will provide a greater emphasis on providing church leaders, pastors, seminary students, and schools administrators and teachers with practical tools to help victims of domestic violence, or intimate partner violence, receive the help they need in a safe, effective, and non-judgmental manner. LEARN MORE.

[1] From Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 215, accessed from on Oct. 13, 2021.

[3] Information cited from the 2015-2016 working policy book.

[7] Check out the book Famous Misquotations: A Civilization is Measured by How It Treats Its Weakest Members,

[8] In the public domain, accessed through