“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, 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.” (Matthew 18:3-6)
In this passage Jesus addressed issues concerning living the Christian life and how what we do and say affects others. To this end, Jesus talks about setting a godly example for children. Young children are very trusting and impressionable. Their naïve trust leaves them open to the corrupting and evil influences of the media, mean-spirited and abusive people, and well-intentioned but selfish or unthinking adults including parents. Children observe and imitate the speech and behavior of those adults they trust and admire.
Jesus used such a forceful image when He condemned those who lead the innocent astray such that we who claim to be His disciples ought to think carefully about our own behavior and speech in the presence of children. In addition, His condemnation should also make us aware of how our speech and behavior as believers can affect both other believers and nonbelievers alike. Specifically, as believers we ought not to be so quick to condemn or curse those who sin against us or offend us. We should never rush to judge or to expose the weaknesses, ignorance, and sins of others. Such behavior may give the observer the idea that the Lord is merciless and cruel instead of loving and patient. We should seek to extend mercy and forgiveness at every opportunity and pray for others who we do not like or offend us so that the erring ones may come to repentance.
Jesus’ words ought to convict any Christian who uses social media to air his or her political opinions. We should think twice about what we post and why. If it isn’t godly or edifying then we should either remain silent or reword our response so that it is helpful not hateful, a blessing, not a curse. We are called to set a godly example for others so that all we do and say reflects the holiness and compassion of God.