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In the midst of a series of laws regulating the treatment of others, we find "Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but fear your God. I am the LORD" (Leviticus 19:1...
There are two ways by which to examine this question. First it is possible for one to be a stumbling block by standing in the way of a person receiving the truth of God's word so that he is drawn into error or even apostasy. This can arise from false teachers who lead innocent followers into believing that they are receiving Biblical truth when in fact they are fed with distortions, and outright error so that their spiritual lives do not conform to sound doctrine. This nature of obstruction is associated with leaders of religious cults that control their followers psychologically through manipulation and false doctrines. The effect is to keep their subjects "trapped" so that only the will of their master or leader is fulfilled. Every other denomination is then depicted as a false religion and only their master or cult leader knows "the way". The second dimension by which stumbling arises is where a beliver Is to led into sin by an unspiritual leader who cunningly draws or lures them into sin and disobedience. Matthew 18:6-9 quotes Jesus proclaiming the harshest attack on those who mislead or stumble innocent believers to sin. Jesus is resolute that the false teachers deserved no mercy. The Pharisees were guilty of both dimensions of stumbling sin.. They loaded many useless laws upon their followers which they on their part were unable to fulfill so that the people were drawn into legalism rather than the grace of God. Jesus condemned their religious legalism that they enforced to irrelevancy and absurdity. Matthew 23:23-29 is a classic case that depicts this legalism. The Pharisees insisted on empty rituals that did not address the internal spiritual condition of their followers. Jesus used the metaphor of a cup which is washed in the outside but was internally unclean. These acts of legalism blinded the eyes of their followers into self justification yet their hearts were far from God. They also taught what was in contradiction to the law and prophets. They refused to recognize that the law pointed at Christ as the coming Messiah and rejected the fact that Jesus was the Son of God, causing the people to operate under doubt and unbelief even after witnessing the power and authority that Jesus commanded. Matthew 12 records one of the most captivating discourses between Jesus and the Jewish religious leaders. This passage reveals the hollow piety, intransigence, ignorance and the evil hearts of the Pharisees who abused their spiritual positions to mislead the Jewish community from discovering God's truth in the Person of Christ and His message. ln a some sense, we believers too often stumble or offend one another. The Greek word for stumble is "skandalizo" from which we obtain the English word scandalize! We need to watch lest we offend each other by our speech, conduct and manner of life or obstruct each other in our ministries. How often we badmouth each other in the name of fair comment or "brotherly concern" when in fact our comments amount to unfair judgment! A separate Greek word "ptaio" is used in James 3:1-2 with regard to Bible teachers who James says are held on a higher level of accountability for their handling of the word. Bible teachers should persistently wrestle with scripture in order to bring out its divine principles and give their congregations a balanced teaching. If this duty is neglected, there is real danger that the people will be stumbled by half truths.
Hebrews 10:24 “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” As true Christians, it is our responsibility to walk in righteousness with diligence and obedience so that we do not cause our brethren to stumble into constant temptation and sin. Many years ago, I owned and operated a nightclub that was inherited through marriage. I remember feeling as though the nightclub business was not conducive to the purpose that God had purposed for my life. Even though there were red flags popping up at every turn, I chose to ignore them in order to profit from selling alcoholic beverages for years to come. Finally, the excuses and lies that I told myself no longer justified my actions of contributing to the sinful desires of others by feeding their drunken appetites. It is interesting in the manner that we are able to excuse our unjust acts as a futile attempt to ease our conscience as we knowingly moving forward in sin. However, in my particular case, ignoring the conviction of the Holy Spirit would become one of the biggest errors of my entire life. My negligence and disobedience of following God’s path, according to Biblical scripture, literally almost caused me to lose my life and soul forever. I began trying to escape guilt by subjecting myself to a pattern of daily alcohol abuse. I would not only guzzle that poisonous libation into my own blood stream, but would also purchase drinks for my VIP customers. There was one fateful night when something inside my spirit snapped; leaving me paralyzed by a shadow of darkness which led me to carve a sliver of broken glass deep into my wrist. I was constantly haunted by the turmoil of committing a revolving door of sin in a world which contradicted my Christian walk. God eventually pulled me out of a fire pit of darkness by His loving grace; but not before allowing my own self destruction to pave the way of returning to live in His light. It took hospitalizations, therapy, abstinence of drinking alcoholic beverages, but most of all it took passionate daily prayers to restore my spirit to wholesome existence. God stepped in and destroyed the very catalyst that had caused my downfall so that I could rise up from the brink of eternal damnation and death; He orchestrated ruin and bankruptcy over that hell hole of a nightclub. My life is far from perfect as we all are existing in a world of sin; but my focus is geared towards serving God to the point of teaching Bible Study to children and loving my neighbors as myself. I love Jesus Christ with my entire being and hope to spread His gospel with as many people as possible. My new life consists of peace and harmony in all that I do; but most importantly, it allows me to use my gift of writing to lead others closer to Christ instead of causing them to stumble into a perpetuating cycle of sin. Romans 12:2~“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” We are here to lift one another up by the glorious truth of God; to dispel all lies and deceit of the devil who tricks the weak minded into staying in sin. Satan has already been defeated and is powerless to all who call upon God through the mighty name of our savior, Jesus Christ. Even though we are dwelling in a world of wickedness, we need to understand and accept the fact that God has overcome this world, and so can we by living according to His righteousness through unwavering faith. John 16:33~“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” May peace, love and faith fill your hearts and souls in this journey called life…God bless~
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