“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 addresses issues concerning living the Christian life and how what we do and say affects others. He addresses this by teaching about setting a good 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 as well as mean-spirited and abusive people and well-intentioned but selfish or unthinking adults and parents. Children observe and imitate the speech and behavior of most adults for they trust them.
Jesus condemns those who lead the innocent astray in very forceful terms that ought to make us think carefully about our own behavior and speech in the presence of children. But 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 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 so that the erring ones may come to repentance.