Caught in the crossfire…”And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.”

Heaviness of heart is common to those who love the little ones when we see a world of hate and hurt invading precious little lives. We see and hear of it so often and yet it seems, though most know better, still many of the most usher the ugliest aspects of life right into the life of a child. Harsh tones, hateful words, and disrespect is displayed over and over again while tiny eyes and ears see and hear, simultaneously taking the hurt of it all right into their little hearts. If only we could grasp the devastation, the cost, the price they pay, surely we would do differently.

Jesus’ words are recorded in scripture in the books of Mark, Matthew, and Luke making clear how Jesus feels about our handling of the hearts and minds of children. Jesus, The Word Made Flesh, the sinless Christ says it is better for those who offend the little ones who believe in Him to have a millstone hung around their necks and be cast into the sea. Then He goes on to say, “if thy hand offend thee, cut it off; it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched…” (Mark 9:43) When men and women refuse to nurture and love the little ones that have been entrusted to their care, to protect them from evil and from harm, I think of this scripture.

Why, when we know better, do we not choose to do better? Why do we sacrifice what is pure in life to hold onto what is rotten? I can truly see how it would be better to cut away what offends than to keep something that does far more harm than good.

I am a parent and a grandparent. I have been and continue to be far from perfect. I know the difficulties of life as well as most, yet knowing only intensifies my pain when young ones are caught in the crossfire of a world of trouble they did not create. The years have shown me much and bid me to share my burdened heart in hopes of sparing others suffering too deep to carry.

Wisdom I seek, I long for, and I need as I navigate these rough waters of my own thoughts this night. I have always had a tenderness toward children. I delight in the joy they seem to have in abundance coming from deep down within where, no doubt, God put it knowing the need. They see so much they cannot understand and are forced to endure. May my heart and home always be a place where they can find safety, assurance, and peace. May I never fail to point them toward the cross and remind them of a love that is unfailing, pure, and perfect where they can place their trust and hope in confidence.

My continual prayer is for the Lord’s Mighty Arm of protection to be extended out over those little ones that are so dear to Him and to me.

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