“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”
The above passage is also echoed in Mark 9:42.
In so many Bible verses children are referred to as something precious we need to protect. Foremost among these, are those spoken by Jesus himself.
The preciousness of children
Jesus understood how precious children are. After all, they are the future.
Jesus also understood the purity of childhood, but more importantly – how easily this innocence can be robbed and tainted.
During a speech by Jesus that is commonly nicknamed “the greatest in the kingdom,” He said:
“‘Truly I tell you,’ He said, ‘unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in My name welcomes Me.'”
– Matthew 18:3-5
Children are clean and untainted by the world. They are also open and full of wonder. This is exactly the way we need to be toward Christ.
Be a good example and do no harm
“Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes!”
– Matthew 18:7
Jesus followed up by further pointing out that, while temptation will befall everyone in the world, the harshest judgment will be reserved from those who try to tempt and steer others away from what is right.
People who encourage others to engage in evil, who teach others to sin, who downplay wrongdoing, who sneer at righteousness – woe to them!
Think about the world we currently live in. The media targets children in a variety of ways, always attempting to lessen the boundaries between childhood and adulthood.
Children’s cartoons are constantly injecting adult and mature themes, with alternative sexuality being at the forefront currently. Much of online content is not filtered to protect children.
Further, children are becoming recipients of messages that promote the occult, as well as those that aim to diminish the Bible as a myth.
Jesus’ message here is clear: Followers of Christ will behave in a Christ-like manner. The faithful must set a good example and never lead others into sin.
Most importantly, they must make extra effort to not lead children – who are the most impressionable – toward sin.
As Christians, it is our duty to protect these “little ones” from sin.