suffer the little children; suffer the children

suffer the little children; suffer the children
to show sympathy or concern for the young
—If you want to learn more about poverty in New York, you should read Dr. Lewis’s article “Suffer the Little Children: The Effects of Homelessness on Urban Preschoolers.”

When some people brought children to Jesus so he could touch them, Jesus disciples rebuked them. This upset Jesus, and he said,

“Let the little children come to me [Suffer the little children to come unto me] and do not try to stop them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” After he took the children in his arms, he placed his hands on them and blessed them. (Mark 10:14-16)

Back in King James’ day, a definition of suffer was “to permit or tolerate.” Therefore, Jesus words are better translated today as “Let the little children (come to me).” Today, suffer the children is most often used as a title or catchphrase to draw attention to children facing troubles. It is also sometimes used with irony, indicating that while we should care for children, we often cause them to “endure pain” (suffer).

 

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