Do Not Hinder Them


I have been reading through the gospels recently, and I keep bumping into the following directive:

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them,

for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

Matthew 19:14

I certainly don't want to hinder my children from coming to the Lord, and have been prayerfully considering what "hindering" might look like in this day and age. Here are three things that come to mind:

1. Hypocrisy - You may have noticed that one of the main excuses people give for not attending church is that churches are full of hypocrites. Now, all people are hypocrites from time to time because to err is human, but we can understand the "turn off" that occurs when people's theology and lifestyle are consistently misaligned. Our kids notice too. One of the major ways we can hinder our children from coming to the Lord is by modeling a "do as I say not as I do" type of faith. If we say that God is our top priority but our budget and calendar and behavior does not reflect the life of a disciple, we are laying down major stumbling blocks for our kids. And God has some strong (scary) words for people who do that...

"If anyone causes one of these little ones--those who believe in me--to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea. Mark 9:42

2. Scheduling - Another way we might hinder our children from seeking the Lord is by filling their lives so full of activity and noise that they seldom have opportunity to think, pray or open their Bibles. Many young children I know go straight from a long day or school to a music lesson. That is followed by a fast food dinner and then sports. Once they get home they have homework and then it's time to sleep and start all over again. Any moments they may have in between activities are often filled with radio or T.V. or screens. When is this child supposed to hunger and thirst for righteousness? What opportunity are you giving them to reflect on the lesson they heard in Sunday School this week? Even if a child feels the Spirit calling them to Himself, when and how will they respond? We must carefully consider our schedules so that in our efforts to create well rounded children, we don't accidentally hinder the most important growth.

3. False Narratives - There are SO MANY false narratives being fed to our children on a daily basis. Since all of these lies are places our kids could potentially get tripped up, we need to clear their path as much as we can until they learn to clear it themselves. How many books, shows, teachers, and friends who are preaching a false gospel interact with your child each day? (Probably more than you realize.) So what do we do when we discover a lie being fed to our child (sometimes in the cute, rhyming text of a picture book)? Occasionally we remove the source - we say "you can't play with that person" or "you can't watch that show anymore" but more often than not, we simply talk about it. We point out the lie and show them the truth by opening God's word. If we don't want these false narratives to hinder our children from coming to Jesus we need to be awake and aware and ready to diffuse those lies with truth.

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them,

for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

Matthew 19:14

I encourage you to pray about this. Ask the Lord to reveal any additional ways you may be hindering your children from coming to the Lord. Only the Lord can call someone to Himself, but we can help make sure the path is clear.

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