In Home Education, Charlotte Mason speaks of treating children the way the Gospel says they should be treated. This sent me on a study of three different verses that mention children and the associated Greek words. Here is what I have learned:
But whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. – Matthew 18:5, 6
The Greek word for “stumble” is skandalizo, which means “to cause to sin, cause to fall into sin, offend; to fall away from the faith, go astray; to take offense; to put a snare or stumbling block in the way.” It is related to skandalon, which refers to “the name of the part of a trap to which the bait is attached; anything that arouses prejudice.”
How does one cause a little one to stumble? By setting them up for failure. By expecting them to maintain standards they are not capable of maintaining. By not keeping them on the way of Truth. By saying negative things about them in the presence of others.
See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven. – Matthew 18:10
The Greek word for “despise” is kataphrono, which means “to despise, look down on, scorn, show contempt; to think down upon or against anyone; to think slightly of.”
How does one despise a child? By acting like they are a burden. By making rude comments to parents who choose to have more children than society thinks they should. By acting as if they are not the blessings God says they are. By acting as if you cannot wait for them to grow up. By saying things to them that you would never dream of saying to an adult. By not listening to what they say as you would listen to an adult. By assuming that they are not capable of understanding anything and therefore watering down subjects or not taking the time to discuss the subjects at all. By always wanting to have “alone” time or “couple” time or “adult” time. By making them feel as if they are holding you back and making you miss out on life.
But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” – Mark 10:14
The Greek word for “hinder” is kolyo, which means “to stop, restrain, forbid; oppress; withhold.” It is similar to kolos, which means “docked, lopped, clipped.”
How does on hinder a child? By stunting their development through too much work and no time to play. By keeping knowledge from them through not letting them help with projects. By impeding their spiritual growth when they are not welcomed into worship services.
The above information was gleaned from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Vine’s Concise Dictionary of the Bible, The Complete Christian Dictionary for Home and School, and various study Bibles.