Most of us know the the idea of a stumbling block when it comes to Christianity. If not let me give a brief definition from the dictionary it is an obstacle or hindrance to progress, belief, or understanding. I think it is important to understand that it is an obstacle or a hindrance of belief not a destruction of belief.
Within the Christian world many see stumbling blocks as things that are sinful. I argue that stumbling does not necessarily mean we are sinning. Let’s just think of this from a walking stand point; if I say somebody stumbled you would not assume that the fell but rather that their feet got tangled and they recovered. So just so we are clear a stumble is not a fall similarly a temptation is not a sin. We fall into sin now we my stumble before we fall but the stumble is not the sin itself. This does not mean we should take stumbling lightly because Jesus certainly does not especially when people cause others to stumble.
And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! 2 It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.”
How much more seriously should we take the warnings against causing others to stumble or putting ourselves down roads littered with stumbling blocks? I think that if we took this as seriously as Jesus did, then many of the things that are lawful for us to do we would not do for fear of causing ourselves, fellow believers, and non-believers to stumble. We take sin seriously but we forget what happens before sin, temptation. It is almost as if we get mad if people get hammered drunk but forget that it was us who drank in front of them and taught them it was ok and because they were of a weaker faith they take it too far. It is almost as if we scold the Christian who lusts but forget what we are wearing and watching that dangled that sin in front of them. It is almost as if we get filled with righteous anger when a murder happens but we forget that it was us that bought, watch, and endorsed all the violence we see in movies and video games as entertainment. It is almost as if we weep when a suicide happens but forget that we told them they were broken and didn’t tell them the Gospel.
The truth is it isn’t almost as if, no, this is exactly what is in the Church and the World. We should heed the words of Jesus and the Apostle Paul.
20 Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. 21 It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.
I know what you are thinking “Vince this seems all a bit unfair I mean if it’s not sinful and it’s not illegal then I have the right to do what I want.” The truth is if you’re a Christian you checked your rights at the door. This life is no longer your own it is Christ’s (Galatians 2:20). Again I think it would be wise if we listened to what Paul says about our rights.
1 Corinthians 8:9
9 But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.
Rest assured brothers and sisters I am not mad at you or only pointing the finger at you. I am asking the same of myself as I am you. I pray that this has been convicting to us and is useful in our walk with Christ. Grace and peace beloved of Christ.