“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. (Mark 9:42 ESV)
This was part of the text that I am preaching on Sunday morning—Father’s day. The above text is actually more about not being the means by which disciples falter, but with it being Father’s day it made me think through even more pointedly how the verse relates to being a daddy. It goes without saying that I do not desire the destruction of my children. One because I love them. Two because a millstone seems like a really uncomfortable necklace—especially for swimming in the sea.
If you, however, think a millstone necklace would be fashionable attire here are 10 ways that you can work towards making your children stumble and turn away from Jesus. In no particular order
- Be an unrepentant hypocrite. We all have elements of hypocrisy. It’s when we are unrepentant in our hypocrisy that it becomes deadly.
- Display with your life and lips that things are more precious than Christ. The thing you pick can be as insignificant as parking spaces or as significant as a large house. It doesn’t matter. Set something other than Christ as your affection and you are well on your way to shopping for a new millstone.
- Neglect teaching. Leave it up to the Sunday school teacher, the television, their peers, or favorite musician and you can start picking out millstone colors.
- Don’t pray for them. Discipleship is a work of God. Your own sanctification as well as that of your children demands a prayerful life.
- Be silent in times of danger. You wouldn’t let little Sally have a tea party on a freeway but will you let her give her heart to an unbeliever? You probably won’t let junior have a pet cobra but do you let him be saturated with the not so subtle advances of our sex-crazed culture?
- Be loud in times of pain. Read Job’s counselors if you want to know how best to get in line for a millstone around your neck. Counsel your children with truth wrongly applied and see what happens to their souls.
- Preach moralism instead of the gospel. Father’s are not only called to teach their children right from wrong they are also called to point them to the Savior. Teach your kid the rules without a relationship and you’ll be sucking down salt-water instead of air in no time.
- Live in disunity with their mother. You model Christ. Abandon your wife, neglect your wife, dishonor your wife, become apathetic toward your wife, and your preaching a really bad gospel to your kids.
- Model spiritual independence. If you don’t need the church then it doesn’t matter how many times you drag little Johnny to it when he’s but a tot. Once he gets wheels he’s going the way of daddy. By the way this is a call for more than just showing up at church on Sunday. The word “need” is italicized for a reason.
- Help them establish an identity in anything other than Christ. Convince them that they are amazing or worthless it doesn’t matter—just make sure their identity isn’t found in Christ.
There you have it. Do these 10 things and you’ll secure your reservation in Davey Jones’ locker.
Actually the word “unrepentant” could be added to any of these. If you find that you have totally blown it—or even moderately blow it—in these areas take heart, Christ is a great savior. Repent. Turn around. Believe the gospel, and make war on these millstone earning behaviors; because faithful fathers also make war!