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July 20, 2009 / beidson

A Millstone For Me? A Weighty Question For Those Who Dare Tread Lightly

Jesus said it would be better for me to have a huge rock hung around my neck and sink to the dark ocean floor than to cause one ofmillstone his little ones to stumble.  He also said it would have been better if Judas had not been born at all.  These are no kind words to faithless people.  Would Jesus cast me into the sea?

Is there anything in your life which is causing another person to stumble?  Jesus said that people would stumble over him, but are they stumbling over you before they even get to him?  And worse, do the “little ones” come to Jesus through you, or are you tripping them up?  As a father, there is nothing I fear more than to draw the wrong picture of the gospel for my children by sinning against them, or sinning in front of them (really these are the same).  The fiercest sort of spiritual warfare I wage is in my fathering.  This is where I will either prove Jesus is powerful to save or make a mockery of grace, if such a thing were possible.  Above all else, I want my daughter and son to be lifted up out of the grave by the words of Jesus.  So I shutter to think of myself being crushed under the weight of God’s judgment if I were to trip them up, as if I were dropped into the sea with a boulder around my stiff neck.

Not surprisingly Jesus gives an exhortation along with his awful warning: “Pay attention to yourselves!” (Luke 17:3a).  The spiritual disciplines are meant to equip us for this cause.  As we behold the wonder of God in the face of Jesus, so we examine ourselves daily, to see whether we are chasing after folly or chasing after Christ, who is our Wisdom.  Do you forgive your brother?  Do you bear with the weak?  Have you misused your tongue?  Are your fingers busy for righteousness’ sake, or do they conspire with your feet to run after evil?

Beware.  Pay attention to yourselves.  Woe to the one through whom temptation comes.  It would be better for him to fill his lungs with water at the bottom of the ocean than to face the judgement of God for shipwrecking the faith of little ones.  If that is better, then do we really understand the gravity of the matter?  Hardly, but there is hope, and so we pray for wisdom and understanding.  Do not tread lightly under the weight of such a perilous promise.  Pay attention to yourselves!

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