Sunday, October 03, 2010

Do you put up stumbling blocks?

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Luke 17:1-10

TO CHEW ON: "Then He said to the disciples, 'It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! It would better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.'" Luke 17:1-2

If you've raised children, you will know what it's like to see yourself — your habits and mannerisms — reflected in them. If you regularly speak to a child in anger, don't be surprised if you hear your tone of voice echoed in the way she speaks to her siblings and friends — even to you.

Treating your child in a way that if she apes you warrants a scolding is hypocrisy and one way you can cause offense (literally put a stumbling block in her path). Jesus warns of that. A footnote in my Bible explaining these verses says:

"Here it (offense) designates something that will cause another to sin. No person sins in a vacuum; others are affected. Jesus issues a strong warning against being the cause of the apostasy of others, particularly those less mature in years and experience." New Spirit Filled Life Bible, p. 1422.

What are some other ways we can stumble our little ones (both literal and spiritual)?

1. By discouraging their faith.
Ten of the twelve spies Joshua sent to check out Canaan discouraged the people from entering the land by focusing on the obstacles rather than on the promises and power of God (Numbers 13:30-33).

2. By corrupting what God has said.
Malachi accused Israel's priests of putting up stumbling blocks in front of the people when they no longer adhered to what God had said but made up their own way to God (Malachi 2:7-8).

3. By setting up impossible man-made ways to come to God and live to please Him. 
Jesus accused the lawyers (experts in the Jewish law) of doing this (Matthew 23:13; Luke 11:46,52).

4. By acting without regard to another person's more sensitive conscience.
Paul warned the Corinthian church about doing that (1 Corinthians 8:9-13).

5. By refusing to look at our own actions.
We can spend a lot of time analyzing the actions of others and their potential to give offense. Instead we should look at ourselves. What are we doing that may be causing someone else to stumble (Romans 14:13).

There is, however, a way to guarantee that we won't be stumbling another. It's deceptively simple: LOVE.

Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. 1 John 2:10 NIV

PRAYER: Dear God, please make me aware of possible stumbling blocks in my attitudes and actions. Fill my heart with love that always considers the spiritual well-being of others before myself. Amen.

MORE: Stumbling block insights

Lots of activities in our culture are potential stumbling blocks. Here are a few articles from that shed light on our participation in some possible stumbling-block-type activities:

"Should a Christian Go To Movies?"

"What Does the Bible Say About Fun and Entertainment?

"Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?

Do your 8-12-year-olds have daily devotions? Point them to Bible Drive-Thru.

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