One of the things our blessed Lord condemned with the most caustic denunciation was the offending of little children. He said it would be better for one to be drowned in the depth of the sea than that he should offend one of these little ones who believe in Him (Math 18:6). How cruel the world is to the children in this our day! Little consideration is given to the fact that conditions children are caused to experience in the formative years of their lives mold them for good or evil, for strength or weakness, for health or sickness, and for wealth or poverty.
Children, generally speaking, are made the innocent sufferers for the sins and wrong doings of adults. Let us consider some of the ways that contribute to the delinquency of the minor.
The Home Life
How tragic it is that children have to be subjected to the sad conditions of an unhappy home! So often we have listened to the stories of young men and women as they told how the situation in their homes was largely responsible for their going astray. Here we find a lack of love on the part of the parents, lack of character building because of failure to instill into young minds and hearts a respect for God and fellowmen, lack of teaching what is right and wrong, and, most of all, lack of family Bible reading and prayer. It is an offence to young children when their home lives are not conditioned to their moral and spiritual instruction.
The Desecration of the Lord's Day
Under the law of God's divine commandments given to Moses, it was imperative that one day- the Sabbath-, be kept holy unto the Lord. This was God's holy commandment, and death was the penalty for those who failed to keep it. However, in this present day, the day of God's grace, less and less respect for the first day of the week is seen on every hand, even though this is the day set apart for the worship of God, since the supreme sacrifice of Christ is now an accomplished fact. Does it not contribute to the delinquency of a minor when the head of the home sets out on Sunday for a ball game, or the golf course, or fishing or any other weekend pleasure, and leaves the children to go or not to go to Sunday School as they so desire? Surely it is a great offence to children to be thus neglected. The wise king of Proverbs 29:15 declares a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.
Bad Reading Material and Entertainment
Today as never before parents should be careful to supervise the reading and other visual material to which children are continually exposed. This includes filthy magazines and paper back books, newspaper theatre advertisements, television programs with evil and sinful suggestive remarks, and sexy methods of merchandise selling. These and many more could be enumerated which constantly break down the moral fibre of our youth and cause them to grow up frustrated, with no moral strength or desire to combat evil in their lives.
Sometime ago in a drug store I saw a young teenager reading a filthy magazine. I observed him as he would bury his head in its pages and laugh. Knowing the owner of the store as a deacon in one of the large churches of the city, I called his attention to the boy and asked: "Can't you just see that boy's mind being corrupted as he absorbs that poison?" When the owner told me he had to take all the magazines from his supplier or else get none at all, I asked him if he really needed profits from such books and magazines to stay in business, and he admitted that he did not. Then I said to him that, rather than contribute to the delinquency of a minor, I would not sell such stuff, for God will not hold any one guiltless for corrupting the minds of children for filthy lucre's sake.
Hypocrisy in Adults
Youth looks for perfect examples in their elders. From their earliest days children begin to learn by example, and they are continuously putting things together in their minds. When they see double standards of living in their parents, Sunday School teachers, instructors, etc., they begin to form a plan for themselves which may set their whole life on an evil path. In a recent newspaper account of a boy caught stealing from a store, he said he did not think it was wrong to steal, as he had heard his father say he had been able to steal a little from the government on his income tax. Thus the lad received from his father the impression that there was no harm in stealing.
I know a father who was whipping his son for smoking at school. In the act of chastising him, the father caught a glimpse of the package of cigarettes in his own shirt pocket. This so convicted him that he dropped the strap, took the boy in his arms, and exclaimed: "Son, I am more to blame than you; I have no right to whip you for smoking when I do the same myself." So the father threw away his cigarettes, and he and the son both agreed that would be the end of smoking for them. Think not, parent, teacher, minister, social worker, elder, deacon, that you can expect the younger generation to go the right way if you do not show them by right example what is right and what is wrong.
Children are thoroughly frustrated by the double standard of living seen in the adults of today. They cannot but think it is not important to ignore the claims of God upon them when they witness their own elders rule God out of all their thoughts and live as though God will not bring them to judgment. The Word of God declares that because God has not executed judgment speedily the heart of man is fully bent to do evil. (See Eccles 8:11)
Since the advent of television the youth of our land, especially those in Christian homes, can see and hear things which they were not allowed to go to the theatre to see some years ago, and their young minds are early molded into sinful lusts and pleasures which come from those who themselves have already been corrupted by sin. Is it any wonder that our Lord Jesus when here on earth voiced such a caustic denunciation upon those who would offend in corrupting the minds of children and in putting a stumbling block in the path to their finding the true way of life in Christ Jesus our Lord!
Youth Themselves Blame Their Overseers
In a recent survey of several hundred young people, each almost without exception said it was the lack of discipline in the home, schools and colleges, and by law enforcement bodies that was responsible for juvenile rebellion and crime. In their opinion, when the penalty for breaking laws is not enforced, then the unrestrained take advantage of such laxity to disobey their superiors. The writer of the Book of Proverbs clearly states: "Withhold not correction from a child, for if thou beat him with a rod he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with a rod and shall deliver his soul from Hell" (Proverbs 23:13-14).
The Bible also states children need to be trained and not allowed to provide their own philosophy of life through the present day much touted theory of self-expression. "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6). Youth cannot understand the present tendency not to enforce our laws and the penalties thereunder, but rather to legalize former crimes when thus allowed to get beyond control, thereby granting more license and less restraint. It is like raising the speed limit on the highway so that the speeder may drive faster without breaking the law; it does not decrease the number of accidents, but causes more.
Youth Responsible to God
Although the Son of God leveled strong denunciations on those who should in any way put a stumbling block in the path of youth, God does not exempt young men and women from judgment for doing that which is wrong. The very laws of our land, written to prohibit wrong-doing, should in themselves be a deterrent and warning, even though through general laxity and sometimes personal influence and favoritism the proper penalties for law-breaking are often avoided or set aside. There is also the voice of God in creation, which God says is a strong evidence of the fact that God is and that He is the One with whom all men will have to do and not another.
There is the voice of God's Word given to reveal the heart of God, who in love gave his Son to die on the cross that all might come to know the Way of Life.
There are the voices of tens of thousands of men and women who testify to the saving Grace and Power of God in their lives; and, as ambassadors for Christ, beseech all to come to the only Savior of sinners who died on Calvary's cruel cross that all men might be saved.
Then, last but not least, is the Spirit of God, who is in the world today to reprove men of sin, of righteousness and judgment (John 16:8), and cause them to see that for one to die in his sins means to be lost in Hell forever.
In the Book of Ecelesiastes, Chapter 12:1, it is written: "Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth-." And in the same book, Chapter 11:9, it says: "Rejoice, oh, young man, in thy youth and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart and in the sight of thine eyes; but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment." Beware then, dear young person, lest the voice of God in your soul be silenced, and that the God who wants to save you today will have to be your Judge tomorrow because you refused to hear His message of salvation. The Word of God states that judgment is God's strange work, but His holiness must be maintained; therefore judgment is sure to come. "It is appointed unto men once to die but after death the judgment." (Heb. 9:27)
Advice from Father to Son
A young man was leaving home after his school days were over. In bidding him goodbye, his father said: "Son, remember this, the Bible says, 'Be not a mocker lest your bands be made strong.' (Isa. 28:22) On whatever path you decide to travel your bands or habits on that path will become stronger each day; and, although you may become tired of sin, it will be hard to break away from sin's grip. But, if you decide to follow the Christian pathway, your bands will become stronger and stronger in the Christian path, and you will find the joy of the Lord to be your strength." "Be not deceived; God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap" (Gal. 6:7).
Young man, young woman, as you read these lines, make the choice Joshua of the Bible made, when he said: "Choose you this day whom ye shall serve; but for me and my house we will serve the Lord" (Joshua 24:15)
I AM HABIT
'It is mighty hard to shake me;
"Through each day I slowly mold thee;
"I can be both good and vile;
"Oft I've proved myself a pleasure;
"Harmless though I sometimes seem, yet
"Though you sometimes fear or doubt me,
"Choose me well when you are starting;
Just Like His Dad
"Well, what are you going to he, my boy,
He wants to he like his dad! YOU MEN,
Would you have him go everywhere you go?
It's a job that none but yourself can fill;