“And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come!" (Matthew 18:5-7)

Jesus continues to speak using a humble little child to illustrate not only how one should be humble, but also regarding teaching others. Let's break it down:

“And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me."

The word “welcome” is translated from the Greek δέχομαι, which can mean "receive" in general, but also can mean, according to the Greek lexicon "to receive into one's family, to bring up or educate."

In other words, it means to receive, but also to guide or teach a person. In this context, Jesus is speaking of helping guide a person into the realm where God is the center of our lives. Jesus is speaking about teaching others to love God, in other words. Should a teacher teach a student to love God and do God's will, as Jesus did, then Jesus will be pleased ("welcomes me").

"But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea."

This clearly indicates the opposite of the first statement. That adversely guiding someone who is trying to follow Jesus yields the worst abomination. To utilize a position of influence to steer an innocent person away from the Truth is to offend the Supreme Being and Jesus.

This is actually the state of affairs of many teachers of sectarian institutions who teach false interpretations of the scriptures and Jesus' life. They teach materialism in the name of Jesus - emphasizing that if we ask Jesus we can become rich or successful. Meanwhile, they ignore Jesus' most important teachings, such as the "greatest commandment" to love the Supreme Being with all our hearts and minds.

"Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin!" 

"World" is translated from the Greek word κόσμος (kosmos), which means "the inhabitants of the earth, men, the human family" according to the lexicon according to this context. Jesus is speaking of the physical world - the world where we misidentify ourselves with these temporary physical bodies and we think that this world is all there is. The fact is, we are not these physical bodies. We are the spirit-persons who are temporarily dwelling within these bodies, and at the time of death we will leave them.

So what are “the things that cause people to sin”? These "things" are the temporary forms and names of the physical world. The attractions of the physical world are geared towards self-indulgence. The illusion of the physical world is that the shapes and forms that our eyes perceive will bring us happiness.

Rather, these are simply reflections of floating molecules that combine for awhile and give the impression of permanence. They do not bring real happiness. They do not fulfill the spirit-person within.

And what is "sin" anyway? Sin is the act of self-gratification. Sin is the opposite of love. Love is caring for others, and sin is activity centered around caring only for ourselves.

But what about the "you have to love yourself before you can love others" teaching that so many self-help gurus are propagandizing? This is hogwash, and it is a misleading teaching. They are merely teaching self-centeredness dressed in fancy words.

In fact, loving ourselves is our disease, and why we are currently away from the Supreme Being.

Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come!"

This explains that while the physical world is full of illusion and physical attractions, those who teach those attractions will make us happy shall be responsible for the consequences of those teachings. “Woe” - from the Greek word οὐαί (ouai) - is an expression of grief. It means here that those who mislead others must suffer the consequences of misleading others.


 (For a translation of Jesus' statements from the Book of Matthew without institutional sectarian influence, see the Gospels of Jesus  - translated from the original Greek texts.)