“As for whoever causes these little ones who believe in me to trip and fall into sin, it would be better for them to have a huge stone hung around their necks and be drowned in the bottom of the lake. How terrible it is for the world because of the things that cause people to trip and fall into sin! Such things have to happen, but how terrible it is for the person who causes those things to happen! If your hand or your foot causes you to fall into sin, chop it off and throw it away. It’s better to enter into life crippled or lame than to be thrown into the eternal fire with two hands or two feet. If your eye causes you to fall into sin, tear it out and throw it away. It’s better to enter into life with one eye than to be cast into a burning hell with two eyes (Matthew 18:6-9, Common English Bible).
We have all seen television shows or movies where the “mob” weighed someone down with “cement shoes” so they would “sleep with the fishes.” We laugh at the stereotypes we see in our entertainment even if we wouldn’t be thrilled about such a thing happening to us, or most anyone else for that matter. Still, the stereotypical buzz words do entertain us.
Jesus was not being entertaining in today’s lesson. In yesterdays reading we read that Jesus brought a child in among the disciples and talked about accepting God as a child. Today he continues saying that if any of us mess with one of these kids and cause them to stumble it would be better for us to “sleep with the fishes.” Jesus’ analogy is anything but pleasant for folks like us to think about.
What I have thought about today, however is, should we take Jesus’ words about the children literally. Is it just the kid who we shouldn’t mess with to avoid cement shoes? I do think where Jesus says it would be better for us to have a millstone tied around our necks than to mess up one of these children. Or could it be, better to have a millstone than to cause a child of God to stumble.
I am not saying Jesus didn’t intend this literally, but we also need to remember all Jesus had to say about love of neighbor. I think it is safe to say that causing someone to stumble is not a sigh of love.
We are called, as people of faith in Jesus not to cause a child to stumble, not to cause a child of God to fall. It is true for children. It is just as true for a child of God.
How can you best avoid causing someone around you to stumble?
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Joy and Peace,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved