Daily Success
Institute in Basic Life Principles

Command 29 : Despise Not Little Ones | Day 202

Do Not Offend Little Ones!

Years ago, a father was strongly advised to keep liquor away from his children because of his family's history of alcoholism and their apparent weakness toward it. However, he insisted on keeping some bottles of wine in his cellar for special occasions. Unbeknownst to him, his son secretly began drinking wine from those bottles and soon developed an addiction to alcohol, which resulted in a life of misery for himself, his family, and future generations.

“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" (Mark 9:42).

The word offend in Mark 9:42 is skandalizo and means "to commit that which leads to the fall or ruin of someone." It is given in the aorist subjunctive mood, which refers to a simple, undefined action as opposed to a continuous or repeated action; it does not signify the time of the action. In other words, a single event constitutes a violation of this warning.

In the first-century church, there was heated controversy over the matter of eating meat that had been offered to idols. Some felt that they had liberty in Christ to eat this meat, but those who had been saved out of idol worship were offended by that viewpoint. Paul pointed out that there was nothing intrinsically wrong with the meat, but he also told the believers, “Take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak” (I Corinthians 8:9). He expanded this instruction in Romans 14:21 by saying, “It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.”

One of the most devastating ways that a father can offend his children is by provoking them to wrath by his anger.

I regularly receive calls from desperate fathers who plead with me to counsel a "rebellious" son or daughter. The first question I usually ask the father is, "Do you have a problem with anger?" He almost always answers, "Yes, but I am working on it." His intentions may be good; however, he has already caused much damage that must first be repaired. Simply working to resolve an anger problem will not take away the pain and damage of past offenses. A father must realize that he has offended not only his son or daughter but also the Lord Jesus Christ, and he must humble himself and ask forgiveness.

Offenses may be caused in many ways: unfulfilled promises, hurtful words, a spirit of anger, or even secret sins. If we are serious about obeying this command and not leading others into sin by our actions, let's search our hearts and ask God to remind us of any offenses that we have not made right. Then, let's humbly and sincerely ask forgiveness of those whom we have wounded and make any necessary restitution in order to restore the relationships.

“Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 18:10).

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Contributing writer: Bill Gothard