Week of Monday, July 31 – August 6
Millstone Moment– Man as Defender

“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 9:42-50 ESV

The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that there are 27.6 million victims of human trafficking worldwide, and that number includes millions of children. The recent movie “Sound of Freedom” is a gut-wrenching but inspiring account of Special Agent for the Department of Homeland Security Tim Ballard’s efforts to infiltrate and dismantle a trafficking ring and save children from unspeakable abuse. In an 
article about the movie, Ballard declared, “When I did operations it always came to my mind what Jesus said about hurting children. ‘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 round his neck and he were thrown into the sea’” (Mark 9:42). Ballard founded a ministry to help these vulnerable children called Operation Underground Railroad.
Ballard’s heart for defending vulnerable children reflects the heart of Jesus in Mark 9. Jesus warns his listeners against influencing or enticing a child to stumble and sin (see the broader context in Matt. 18:1-6). Although the Greek word translated as “sin” in this text is where our English words scandal and scandalize come from, the primary word picture is that of a baited, crooked stick on a deadfall trap. When the unsuspecting prey touched the bait stick, the trap fell. The word came to mean to lure, entice, entrap, or put an impediment in the way. Our Lord warns against manipulating an innocent child into the trap of sin.
The consequences for such an offense are severe: “[I]t would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.” This was not a Jewish method of punishment. Several other cultures (e.g., Roman, Syrian, Greek) 
reportedly employed this method of swift and certain execution. Millstones weigh hundreds of pounds, and Jesus’ invocation of one in this context underlines the seriousness with which he takes the issue of harming children.
Child sex traffickers are obviously guilty of perpetrating a heinous crime against innocent children. But consider: are social media manipulators likewise culpable of harming children when they put deceptive messaging in front of impressionable youth? Are social engineers who masquerade as educators guilty when they endorse and promote gender ideology to children in the classroom? Are medical professionals guilty when they make money prescribing puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to children and performing surgeries to remove healthy organs? I have come to the conclusion that Jesus’ warning would apply to people like that as well.
Now, it is one thing for us to simply curse the darkness, but it is another thing to turn on the light. As Defenders, we might not go undercover to bust a trafficking ring like Agent Ballard did, but we can make a difference. A few ways to do that are by monitoring and placing digital guardrails on our children’s electronic devices. We wouldn’t let anyone bent on harming our kids past our front door. So why would we let destructive influences flow freely into their minds and hearts via social media?
Another thing we can do is show up at school board meetings with a Battle Buddy to monitor and even protest what educators are teaching children in your community. Better yet, run for school board and bring needed change. Finally, we can engage in government and support candidates and legislation that will help curb the harms of radical sexual ideology.
America is quickly approaching a “Millstone Moment.” While God may have a millstone necklace prepared for those who cause children to stumble, I sure don’t want to have to answer to Him for standing by and doing nothing while these people do their damage. Will you stand with me against those who would do children harm? God impressed Psalm 94:16 (NKJV) on my heart years ago, and it applies here: “Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? Who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?” I will stand. Will you stand with me?

Have you considered installing a parental control app to protect your children and grandchildren when they are online?
- Do you know the names of your school board members? Are you praying for them? Have you considered participating in their meetings, monitoring their activities, and giving your input? 
- Ask God to give you wisdom and courage as you stand against evildoers who would cause children to stumble.