Stumbling Blocks

9 11 2007

untitled-2.jpgThe Christian is responsible to not be a stumbling block to others (Romans 14:13-23). This responsibility is irksome in many ways. One of the most annoying aspects of it is the requirement to take into consideration the various convictions of others and modify one’s behavior and words to accommodate them.  

                Paul used the example of food to illustrate the principle. His instruction amounts to this: if you know other believers will be offended and/or upset by your indulgence in certain foods then keep it between yourself and God. In other words, don’t eat those things in public and keep your mouth shut about the fact that you eat them at all. 

    20Do 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. 21It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. 22The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God…” (Romans 14:20-22a ESV). 

  Now this presents a problem for some in terms of honesty. If, for example, one believes there is nothing wrong with drinking wine, why should he care who knows about it? Why should he have to adopt a “pose” for the sake of others?  This is just where the enemy will attack. “Why should you have to pretend for others?” Satan will whisper. “You coward!  Surely God wants you to stand up and boldly proclaim what you really think about all these things. Stop being bullied into silence!” 

Don’t fall for this ploy. God has clearly placed the greater responsibly on the spiritual welfare of others.   

Many who think they are being martyred for righteousness’ sake are really just reaping the fall-out of disobeying the mandate to not be a stumbling block.    




3 responses

20 11 2007
jonathon smith

Hey Bro. Click……I agree with what your saying but my question is why are you using ESV then? Where does one draw the line…..I mean there are people that are offended that I shaved my head rather than have a nice clean part to the side preacher doo. You draw the line at versions you use. I personally don’t mind but I know many that do. Just a question? Where does maturity and the responsibility of christians to grow up spiritually play into this?

20 11 2007

Thanks for your questions Jonathon,

Where does one draw the line?…

That’s the difficult part of this biblical responsibility. The sphere of influence and contact one finds oneself in often dictates the means one may thoughtfully use.

If I were to submit this little article for printing in one of the seminary papers, I would substitute the KJV for the very reason you cite. I’ve found that the majority of readers of Christian themed blogs (like mine) tend to go the other way. They tend to view people who use the KJV as stiff and insensitive. So, my choice of translation was intended to be in harmony with the mandate expressed by the passage.

Where does maturity and the responsibility of Christians to grow up spiritually play into this?…

Paul seems to suggest a “watch and see” position. In other words, the mature Christian is to observe the operational level of those around him and adjust to them, especially if he knows that what he is doing will unsettle the faith of those around him.

27 11 2007
jonathon smith

I think that is an excellent answer and I agree with you. However, I have found that when I take that approach that there are those that would call that being two-faced or wishy washy or even deceptive.

What about telling people that you are going to go along with them because you don’t want to offend them because they are the weaker brother and that’s what Paul said to do…lol.


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