2003-02-09 - Our Responsibility to Children
Originally Published 1998-03-18
(Mat 18:5-6 NIV) And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea
As I have said before, some of Jesus' harshest words were reserved for those who cause harm to children. If we lead a child into sin, we are worthy of death. We don't think of ourselves as doing such a thing, but think about it - parents, what television programs or movies do you allow your children to watch? What kind of ideas and temptations are being planted in their minds? Which magazines are left lying about, where young hands can get hold of them? What kinds of moral messages are being taught? For those of us who don't have children, when children visit us, what kind of language do they hear? What kind of music or television program is playing in the background?
There are other ways we fail our children, too. In some churches, mine included, we promise to ensure that they are brought up "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." Do we encourage them to go to Sunday school? To have family devotions? When your children say they don't want to go to the youth meeting, do you give in and let them miss opportunities for fellowshipping and growing in the faith, or do you draw the line there and insist they go?
One way we may not even realize we are hurting youngsters, but that can leave lifetime damage, is in our words. We know we are angry and don't mean it when we call them "stupid," "good-for-nothing," etc. but they can take this image with them for a long time. We need to be careful how we talk to such young impressionable children. When we correct them, we need to do it in a way that they have NO doubts that they are loved - sometimes they are left doubting this. Children need to feel loved and cherished. This is crucial for their spiritual and emotional well-being.
Even if we don't spend a lot of time with children, we can pray for them - and we should.
Children are precious gifts from God, and we need to treat them that way.
Dear Father, forgive us when we fail the children in our lives. Guide us as we guide them. In Jesus' name amen.