Can I Come In?

Little five year old boys don’t usually want to play with girls putting on makeup – unless it is boring because there are no other boys around. That changes everything. At least it did for Jude, my grandson. My four granddaughters had locked themselves in the... read more

My Mother’s Christmas Wish

Devotion: When I was a little girl, the number one question I asked all my family before December 25th was “What do you want for Christmas?” I asked my sisters and my brother, my mother and my father. It was a huge question for me because my funds were limited to a small... read more

Innocent Bystanders


“But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” Matthew 18:6 (NIV)


Subbing at school is always entertaining and a bit interesting – especially in the younger grades. A few weeks ago I subbed in a 5th grade classroom in the morning and in a 2nd grade classroom in the afternoon.
My conversation with a little boy in the afternoon class as I walked in the door went like this:
“Who are you?”
“Your sub for the afternoon.”
“Why weren’t you here this morning?”
“I was subbing in 5th grade.”
“Hey! I have a friend in 5th grade!”
“You do? What’s his name?”
“His first name is Donald.”
“I don’t think I had anyone in my class by that name. What is his last name?”
He paused and thought for a couple of seconds. Then an ah-ha moment:
“I think his last name is Trump.”
Comment from the boy beside him: “Your friend is on TV??!!”
Can I share with you that I laughed off and on for about 30 minutes? I did. But then something occurred to me.
Obviously these two little boys had seen and heard some of the political news – who hasn’t? But I realized that they were probably just “innocent bystanders” to what they were hearing and seeing at home.
Then I wondered how much they learned from everyday conversations that they heard and saw with their families.
For example, the phone rings and Mom whispers to Dad “Tell them I’m not here right now.” Or perhaps Dad gets too much money back from a purchase at a store and he laughs “I’m not saying anything – it’s their mistake!”
Today’s Key Scripture from Matthew 18:6 is a crystal clear caution from Jesus. He says “But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” Wow. Jesus doesn’t get more direct than that.
We, parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, have a responsibility to guard what our little ones hear and see every day. No, we will not be able to shield them from everything that can hurt them spiritually but we can make sure that we are not directing them toward sin by our actions. Our actions. Our words. Our example.
We may not think they are listening and watching but they are. And so is the Lord.
I encourage you to guard the hearts of your children. Begin by guarding what you say and do. Innocent bystanders are always watching and listening.


Father, please convict me of any actions that would cause a little one around me to fall into sin. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.


Have you ever been speaking about someone in an unchristian way and then realized that your children were watching and listening?


In Your journal make three columns. Write “example” at the top of the first column and write “Christ-like” above the second column. Above the third column write “Scripture.”

Now list a few sentences about conversations you have had or television or movies you have watched with your children listening, under “example” and place either a + or a – under the “Christ-like” column. If you have placed a – after any sentence, look up Scripture references to help you get re-directed and write them in the third column.


Matthew 18:6 (NIV) “But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”

Psalm 19:14 (NIV) “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

I Corinthians 11:1 (NIV) “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”

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Copyright 2010  Nancy E. Hughes