And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! Luke 17:1
“Am I my brother’s keeper?” The first human question recorded in the Bible (Genesis 4:9). Sin is solely a personal and individual decision. Or is it?
Eve took the bite of the fruit with Adam standing right next to her. Her partner. Her husband. The one to whom God actually gave the instructions not to eat. Why didn’t he stop her? And not only did he not stop her, he grabbed the fruit from Eve’s extended hand and also took a bite.
While we don’t make another person’s decision for them to sin, our influence is more significant than we may think. And Jesus takes this very seriously. The finality of judgment and eternity are real – Jesus is stern about causing another to stumble.
We live in a fallen world. Yes, temptations to sin will surely come, Jesus acknowledges this. But woe to the one through whom they come.
“Pay attention to yourselves!” Jesus says. Temptations are everywhere; don’t add to it. Don’t make it even harder on others.
Do we encourage those lies? Do we cause another to gossip? Do we drag friends into our sinful endeavors? Do we jump on the comparison and criticizing bandwagon when a friend confides about a disagreement with another? Do we promote books, movies, music that inspire sinful behavior, all tacitly condoning it? Are we a stumbling block to those weaker in certain areas?
Jesus says don’t do it! In fact, He says it would be better to have a huge weight hung around your neck and be cast in the sea (ummm…not fun!) than to be the cause of temptation that leads to a brother or sister in Christ sinning. Our actions impact more than just ourselves!
Questions: Are you typically a source of encouragement for your friends or a cause for their stumbling? Are you aware of your impact on others?