The world today is on a mission to steal the innocence of our children as early as possible. Our adversary often works to counter God’s order or steal from us things of great price in the eyes of God. This is nothing new, it’s the same old tactic he used in the garden when he tricked Eve into eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Eve’s eating of the fruit was not just an act of disobedience, their consumption of it stole something very dear from them: their innocence.
The word innocent means to be free from guilt or sin especially through a lack of knowledge of evil. It means to be ignorant, unaware or naïve. After eating the fruit they gained knowledge that God did not desire for them to have. Their innocence was of great value to Him. He desired to have an unhindered relationship with them, walking with them in the garden in the cool of the day. When God came to spend time with them after their eyes were opened, He had to call out to Adam, because they were hiding, now aware of their nakedness.
When children are born, although into this sin nature, they are born innocent. At birth a baby has not yet sinned and has no knowledge of good and evil. The age-old nature versus nurture debate, need not look any further than scripture to determine that both impact a child’s growth and development. While our sin nature cannot be ignored, the nurture of a child is a most vital and precious responsibility given to a parent. It is our duty to protect their innocence: keep them naïve to evil and teach them what is good and true. Essentially everything a child comes to know must be taught, and the most important thing we can ever teach them is the truth of God’s Wordas it pertains to every aspect of life.
In Luke 18:16 Jesus said, “Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not.” Getting to know Jesus, learning truth, as a child who does not have to sift through so many lies and other “knowledge” to simply believe is an amazing gift each parent should strive to give to their children. In Matthew 18, Jesus uses a child as an example of how to be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, saying that if we are not converted and become as a child, one humble in large part due to innocence and dependency, then we shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. He also issues a warning to anyone who shall offend a child which believes in Him, saying itwere better that a “millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”
To offend means to put a stumbling block or impediment in the way, to entice to sin or to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey. We as parents certainly do not want to be one by which offense comes! But we also want to be the one that protects our children from such offenses. This world and its systems and culture has been set up by the god of this world, the devil, to come at children from every angle imaginable. Any exposure to images, words, thoughts and ideas, aka “knowledge,” that can get to our children steals something very precious: innocence. It is the same old tactic the devil used in the garden; he was the first offender of the innocent.
There is a knowledge that God desires for us and our children to have. In 2 Peter 1, scripture says that grace and peace is multiplied through the knowledge of God and Jesus. In verse 3 it describes knowledge as an avenue through which God’s divine power gives all things that pertain to life and godliness! Oh what this means in the life of a child, to grow in grace and the knowledge of God as they grow and develop. In this last and evil day, when many are deceived and falling away from the faith, let’s endeavor to raise up a generation with a solid foundation, rooted and grounded in truth, planted in the house of God, with a biblical worldview, and a genuine relationship with our Lord. We live in this world, and the culture is inescapable, but it does not have to be detrimental, when our children are both equipped and mature enough to handle such knowledge.