Read: Matthew 18:1-6
But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to . . . be drowned in the depths of the sea. (v. 6 NLT)
Child labor is any form of enslavement of a child—domestic servitude, forced marriage, forced labor, bonded labor, or sex trafficking. It’s hard to imagine anything more heartbreaking than innocent children, who aren’t able to fully comprehend what is happening to them, being used for someone else’s pleasure or financial gain or both.
In Matthew 18, Jesus taught that having childlike humility was worth more in God’s kingdom than worldly greatness. Children had no status in the ancient world and were at the mercy of others, but Jesus said “a little child” should be welcomed in his name (v. 5). Moreover, he strongly warned against causing “one of these little ones” to sin, asserting that it would be better to be drowned instead (v. 6).
That is some heavy language. Jesus’ teaching clearly tells us that children are valuable and vulnerable. We know our God is a God of justice. He will rectify the many wrongs being done to children today, but we need to do our part in protecting them. Preventative measures must be taken and enforced, plus aftercare provided for freed children. May God open our eyes to the horrors of child labor and help us value all children as God does. —Kelly Brace
As you pray, remember the children who are being held against their will in modern slavery.