Matthew 18:6-7: “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. 7 Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!
What strong words Jesus uses when he has a small child in his arms and speaks to his disciples! The word that is translated to “stumble” is a word that means to “cause to fall into a death trap.” Jesus says that if you cause one of these little ones who believe in me to lose their faith and their eternal salvation, it would be better if you had a millstone hung around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea.
The world will throw things at our children and cause them to stumble, but how might we do the same? We lead by example, both by a good example and also by a wicked example. My attitude about the Word of God will shape my children’s attitude. If I care nothing for the Word, why should my children care? If I complain about my church and the pastor and the people in it, my children hear these things and can easily be turned off to belonging to any church.
In the song “Cats in the Cradle,” the man never has time for his children. There is always an excuse. And when he gets old and wants his children to come by, the children do not have time for him. In the song, the son says, “I turned out just like you, dad.” That song has always haunted me. Do I want my children to turn out just like me? No. Maybe the me without my sinful habits. Maybe the me without my weaknesses. My prayer has always been that I have led my children to Jesus so that they can be like him, and not like me.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, your words to me today are hard and not easy to hear. Forgive me for ever putting a stumbling block in front of those little ones that believe in you, whether by my words or my actions, either as a father or as a pastor to your people. I pray that I will always lead them to you, because only in you will they find a perfect Savior and a model for their lives. Amen.