We will stumble. Jesus taught that stumbling blocks will come, and warns us to not cause anyone else to stumble. How would that happen? Well, three clear areas in which we can stumble or can make others stumble are sin, faith, and self-idolatry…
1 Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. 2 It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble. 3 So watch yourselves.
Woe to anyone who causes or influences little ones to stumble into sin. The little ones, who may be children or may be less mature believers (there is counsel in scripture to protect both), are more easily influenced.
If my exercising of a right or freedom, or my own sinful behaviour, draws them into a similar sin, Jesus is saying that I bear some responsibility. Watch yourselves.
If my influence on others causes them to lose or diminish their faith in God, I bear responsibility. This can happen with those inside God’s family and even more with those who are watching and seeking and considering faith.
If my behaviour pushes anyone away from the Lord, I am not serving Jesus. I am counter-acting him. Watch yourselves.
And if I promote self over God, in my life or in the life of those around me, I help to set up an idolatry of self. An idol is anything that we put between ourselves and God, which takes the place God should have in our lives.
Our self-importance, our freedom, and our self-determination are so inbred and fueled by the ways of our world that this is a particular risk – do not contribute to a little one to elevate self over surrender to God. Watch yourselves.
Who can live up to these challenges? Only one who is focused on seeing the world from God’s eyes and serving the world for God. Is that you?