As I was pacing the room to help baby Ella settle down for her nap, I prayed for her rest, for her parents (that’s Andrew and I), and that we would not do anything to hinder her walk with the Lord.
“What,” you ask, “Does that mean?”
Thank you for asking.
In Luke 17, Jesus says to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. It would be better for the to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble. So watch yourselves (v1-3).”
We don’t often speak of causing others to sin. It’s much more convenient to focus on our own need for grace than to be responsible for our actions and words toward others’.
We like to point out unforgiveness in someone without admitting that it was our own behavior and lack of understanding that caused the bitterness (See 1 Corinthians 8.9, 1 Peter 3.7).
This is not to say that we are responsible for how someone else acts. In fact, going back to Luck 17, Jesus said, “If your brother or sister sings against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them.”
“The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith!'” When we are right with God ourselves, then we can allow our motives to be from Him, instead of our selfish hearts.
We know what is fair. God set the standard very high and we like to hold each other up to it. That isn’t always bad; Jesus did say that if your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them, and if they repent, forgive them. However we often overlook these standards in our own lives, and this is a place where our children will be lead astray.
Let us not encourage Biblical study, only to neglect it in our own busy lives.
Let us not preach the power of prayer, only to let our prayers wither.
Let us not preach fairness, only to sneak the bigger cookie from the other person, even if they never know. God knows. We know. Letting one little gap in our armor go untended can allow an encampment of the enemy.
Let this not be.
“Be diligent in [setting an example in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity];give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.” 1 Timothy 4.15. May we glorify God with our example, and not forsake the call to go into all the world and preach the Good News (see Mark 16.15), and the mission field in our own homes.