Reading: Matthew 18:10-11
“See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.”
I used to think of “guardian angels” as a myth—because I never heard them taught in Sunday School and in church, and yet their [often misrepresented] characters appear every now and then in fiction—books, TV, films, etc. But ‘guardian’ angels or just accompanying angels or whatever their role is, Jesus has said it—there are angels assigned to children—and these angels have direct access to the Father!
“See that you do not look down on one of these little ones”. I have always thought that the reference to little children in Matthew 18 were always in the figurative form, and were always referring to us who are believers in Christ (i.e., starting out in vv.3 and 4 wherein we are to liken ourselves to little children)—applicable, yes. But recently—when I carried on to v.5, I noticed the transition; Jesus moved the topic to refer to children themselves, our role in their lives, and the dreadful punishment that awaits those who cause others (children or believers in the faith) to sin. And this reference to children carries on to vv.10 and 11…. In fact, it seems to carry on to vv.12-14—the parable of the lost sheep—which we have always applied to us adults (this is the reason why I have stopped reading subtitles in my Bible—it pre-empts my understanding!)! And as if not enough, Jesus had to make again the assertion in Matthew 19:14—“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
Wow–how could I have missed it? I didn’t see it before! Suddenly these passages have become very, very dear to me!
“See that you do not look down on one of these little ones.” Have we derided children? Have we mocked them, discouraged or belittled them? Or are we, as adults, products of such maltreatment in the past? Be comforted—the matter was brought to the Father’s attention, and He will do something about it, because He said so (Matthew 18:6-9), and because He is a God of justice. Meanwhile, we should also extend forgiveness to those who have hurt us, because we have also been forgiven of our enacted decisions to sin. Or are you worried—because you were a perpetrator and guilty? Be encouraged—all is not lost—God offers forgiveness if we repent and accept Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross to take our place of punishment; and the opportunity to restore broken relationships remains open.
And lastly, do we adult believers have guardian angels as well? I would like to think so—because we will always remain God’s children, called to have a child-like faith. And there are always ministering spirits around us. But regardless, my ultimate encouragement comes from the truth that the Lord is everywhere.
“Am I only a God nearby,”
declares the Lord,
“and not a God far away?
Who can hide in secret places
so that I cannot see them?”
declares the Lord.
“Do not I fill heaven and earth?”
declares the Lord.
– Jeremiah 23:23-24