Paul penned the most solemn warning to those who would discourage a single soul in their Christian growth. “Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.” Romans 14:13. Jesus spoke out on the very same topic except that he described the enormity of causing a child to stumble. Perhaps His words will have more meaning for us if we read them with children’s Sabbath School teachers in mind. “Whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea,: Matthew 18:6. Serious words indeed! But no more serious than the offence it describes-the misleading of little children who look to teachers as examples. How often have little girls questioned the Bible standard about rings after seeing a ring on the finger of a favorite teacher.
In one particular church, a kindergarten teacher, who wore a wedding ring, was idolized by a little girl in her department. During the church service the child would often be permitted to sit with the teacher and her husband. Since they had no children of their own, the couple was delighted to have the well-behaved little girl sit with them. She would usually occupy herself with things in the teacher’s purse, but, being of an affectionate nature, she would cling to the hand of her teacher much of the time. One Sabbath, during the sermon, the woman glanced down at the little girl and noticed that she had slipped off the wedding ring and placed it around her small finger. Somewhat perturbed, she recovered the ring, and put it back on her own finger.
Week by week, much to her chagrin, she noticed how obsessed the tot seemed to be with the ring, and often tried to remove it unobtrusively, so that she could slip it around her childish fingers. The growing fascination of the little girl for the golden circle became an increasing concern to the older woman. Knowing the Bible teaching about ornaments, her conscience had not been at ease from the time she had started wearing the ring. Now she was unable to enjoy the worship service, as she sought to divert the little girl’s vain attention from the article of adornment.
At last she could bear it no longer. Under deep conviction that she was placing a stumbling block in the path of the child, she removed the offending ring once and for all. Later she related the experience to her pastor, and described the feelings of guilt which tormented her for placing temptation before the face of an innocent little girl.
Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
1 Peter 3:3,4