“Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble. So watch yourselves. If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying “I repent,” you must forgive them.’” Luke 17:1-4
Children are a little like echoes. Eventually what you say or do before them comes ringing back to you. You might wonder where that behavior or language came from, but if you stop for a moment, you will recognize that it comes from someone significant in their lives. They echo what they see or hear.
There is a grave challenge in today’s verses. It is the admonition that it is our responsibility to live in such a way to make it safe for a child to follow in our footsteps. We have to make sure the echo we will hear is the echo that brings God glory.
Even if our children are grown or we have never been a parent, someone is watching us. And this is not just assigned to our own children. It applies to those who are coming behind us in the faith. We need to consider that our lives impact those who are watching. We might feel like we have the freedom to live our lives the way we wish, because of our maturity in Christ. But that attitude betrays our immaturity. We are not called to live for ourselves. Our lives are not about self. Our lives are about self-sacrifice.
Remember children are echoes. What are they seeing in the lives of those around them?
They are watching.