Matthew 18:6 uses
the word "sin" (NIV), Mark 9:42 uses the word "stumble" (NKJV) and Luke
17:2 (NKJV) uses the word "offend" to show how serious it is for a person to purposely try to abuse
a spiritual child of God and if that is the penalty for causing a spiritual child to become offended, or sin or stumble then
by extension this means a physical little child cannot be treated in this manner either or risk the same penalty.
A millstone is very heavy and if it is around someone's neck that person
will die when thrown into a sea. God takes this offense very seriously.
As parents we must always
teach in love and discipline with justice. This does not mean an adult should be passive and not correct a child
for bad and unacceptable behavior because that too is a sign of being unloving and abusive. Even God chastens us because he
loves us ( Rev. 3:19).
One of the primary problems for each generation is to figure out what is abuse. In the modern
English dictionaries the definition is to attack verbally, to misuse or mistreat someone. This can be manifested in verbal
insults, physical battery (although spanking done in love and for the good of the child is OK), emotional and psychological
mistreatment because of lies and hypocrisy, and spiritual deception. It also includes neglecting very important parts of being
a human being such as withholding items of survival like food, water, and heat. Love and nurturing are vital parts is aiding
humans to grow up properly. This was demonstrated when institutionalized babies became adults. They did not receive personal,
one-on-one attention from a care giver and were unable to love in return. Unfortunately, this world is full of this kind of
treatment and for some it seems as though it is normal. But it is not acceptable to God.
We are first told not to murder
or kill our brother without cause. This was the first lesson of mankind in the story of Cain and Abel. We are expected to
be our brother's keeper and in the case of rape we are to step in and prevent this from happening if we are truly loving
God and following his Law ( Deut. 22:25-27). The Bible is full of stories of humans abusing each other. God certainly does
not like this behavior amongst his own children (us) and would never approve of abuse for any reason. He is a Being of law
and order. He is Love and Truth and Mercy.
In conclusion, the Bible clearly states that we should never condone or
be a part of child abuse or any other kind of abuse against our fellow men and women. Such attitudes and actions come from
the "works of the flesh," our human nature apart from God, which Paul enumerates in Galatians (
Gal. 5:14-15, 19-21).
I hope this brief explanation spurs you on to further study this topic in scripture. Remember,
God holds each of us responsible for teaching children about Him and his Way ( Deut. 4:9). May God Bless your study of His