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Jesus Loves Kids
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Jesus stands up for kids. He loves them. He values them. And Matthew 18 shows just how much.

When the disciples asked Jesus, “Who then is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child to Him and answered, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me” (verses 1-5).

In the next verse, Jesus speaks some of the strongest words quoted in the Bible. They show His fatherly sense of protection, and the fate of those who might harm a child: “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea” (verse 6). Strong words of warning for sure!

Later, in verse 10, Jesus talks about heaven’s view of kids: “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.”

Then, after telling the story of a lost sheep, and how the shepherd left a herd of 99 to find it, Jesus says, “Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish” (verse 14).

Loving or Bruising

When I read Matthew 18, I ask myself: How are we treating these “little ones” for whom Jesus has such a strong love and feelings of protection? As parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers and coaches are we treating them with patience, gentleness, forgiveness and unconditional love? Or are we leaving bruises on their bodies or on their hearts?

Our children don’t need to hear, “You should have done better!” But rather, “What a great job!” They don’t need to hear, “How could you have been so stupid?” But rather, “I forgive you—let’s learn from that mistake.”

Our children don’t need to feel a slap on the face or a kick in the pants. They need a warm hug and a pat on the back. They don’t need to feel that they are worthless or in the way. They need to hear that they are priceless and that we can’t imagine life without them.

If we give these gifts to our children, their hearts will be whole instead of broken. Then the words echoing in their heads will be, “I am loved. Someone believes in me.” And we will be giving them the love and value Jesus intended them to have.

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By Nancy Canwell. Copyright © 2011 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION © 1982.

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