Shall We Cause Them To Stumble?

by Tom Wacaster
When we were raising our children there were a number of times that we would not allow them to go with their friends to a certain activity. We felt that it was not in their best interest morally, or spiritually. Time has proven our actions wise. Though they could not understand our motives at the time, they have more than once expressed appreciation for the restraint that we placed upon them. I am certain that most have had to repeat those oft dreaded words, “Because I told you so,” and have likewise restrained little hands and feet from participating in questionable activities. Though children cannot understand at any given moment exactly WHY we parents must restrict their actions, from the parents’ perspective we realize that we will answer should we permit them to travel in a path detrimental to their spiritual well being. Jesus warned us, “But whoso shall cause one of these little ones that believe on me to stumble, it is profitable for him that a great millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be sunk in the depth of the sea” (Matt. 18:6). It is serious business to cause innocent minds and hearts to go astray.

Were I to ask the question that serves as the title of this article, I am confident that each and every one of us would answer with a resounding “NO!” None of us wants to see our children stumble. This being true, why is it that parents, and church leaders, often allow our youth to travel down a path that is, at best, questionable, and often DEAD WRONG? Consider the following examples.

First, young, impressionable minds are allowed to attend movies and listen to music that is filled with bad language, violence, etc. I do not attend movies much any more, for the simple reason that most of what is produced is not fit to watch. Not long ago my wife and I went to watch a G rated movie. After purchasing the tickets and walking into the movie, I was shocked to see the number of children going with their parents into PG-13 movies. Then there is the music that is designed to appeal to youth. Music albums and CD’s have covers and contents that eyes and ears should not consume. Heaven only knows how many children watch the garbage that is dumped into our homes during prime time TV. The list goes on. Parents should be very selective in what they allow their children to watch. But in addition, parents should be selective in what they watch.

Second, there is an ever increasing absence of supervision of children in their daily activities. “Latch-key-children” has become a household word used to describe children who arrive home from school long before their parents get home from work. Wholesome role models have all but disappeared in the inner city, and “single-parent” families” are much more common than they used to be.

When it comes to the church, elders, preachers, parents and teachers have a great responsibility of seeing to it that our youth are given proper direction and guidance. Sometimes we have to make decisions that are not favorable to the youth themselves. It is astounding to me that some leaders within the church have bought into the lie that a youth activity hosted by some neighboring congregation is wholesome just because it is sponsored by area churches. Those who would lead the church into apostasy are not stupid. If the youth can be changed, it is only a matter of time until the whole of the church will be changed. Young minds cannot discern the error in religious matters any more than they can discern some of the moral ills that surround and tempt them every day. They need guidance and direction. We should be selective in those activities in which we allow our youth to participate, realizing that we may be responsible for what effect it has upon their impressionable minds, as well as their eternal destiny. May it never be said of us that we were negligent in training our children. And may it never be said that any one of us caused one of these little ones to stumble.