Stumbling Blocks

So, then each of us will give an account of himself to God.  Therefore, let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.   Romans 14:12-13

It’s easy to think that our actions and choices don’t affect those around us, but they do.

   The fact is, other Christians and especially non-Christians are always watching us. Many think that we should live perfectly once we become saved and they may even doubt our conversion if they see us doing anything that is ‘un-Christ’ like. Although there should be outward evidence of change, we never become perfect, let alone overnight. Transformation is a process and progress if we have truly submitted to God and are continually renewing our mind through prayer and study. We understand this, but most non-Christians don’t. Therefore, our imperfections become a ‘stumbling block’ for them to become believers. They can also affect our fellow Christians in what their own expectations should be.

“…Set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.”  1 Timothy 4:12

   As children of God, we have a responsibility to lead others to Christ as well as support our brothers and sisters in Christ. We do this through our actions and our words.

Negative words hurt.

   Gossiping and slander are actions of words that are very common ‘stumbling blocks’. Some don’t realize they are doing wrong when they talk about people. After all, they may be stating facts, or so they think. But neither are looked upon as good by others nor God. My Mother’s most often quote to me was “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”.

A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret. Proverbs 11:13 

They visit me as if they were my friends, but all the while they gather gossip, and when they leave,
they spread it everywhere. 
Psalms 41:6

    This may not only involve the gossiper, but also those around them. Many people have difficulty being positive and not partaking in the negativity around them. By not speaking up or not leaving the conversation, they are partaking in it. We need to set an example by letting them know we don’t join in their gossip and slander.

Our actions speak to our youth (not only children, but also the young in Christ)

   Our youth watch and learn from us. Our habits are actions that teach our youth that it’s ok even though we tell them it’s not. (Actions speak louder than words) If we say a swear word, they most likely will think it’s ok to swear even though we tell them not to. They also learn good and bad personality traits, like: love, compassion, patience or yelling, frustration, impatience, to name a few. You’re not just influencing their life but the next generation as well.

The righteous man walks in his integrity; His children are blessed after him. Proverbs 20:7

“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!  Matthew 18:6-7

Effects of Addictions

   Our addictions affect those around us in many ways. Whether they are the most considered, like drugs and alcohol, or ones we don’t think about being addictions, like TV, social media, overworking, food, etc. they take precedence over God, our family, and other important things in our lives. Substance addictions create a change in personality, take away finances, and a lot of cases can cause harm to others.

   There are many more that could be mentioned, but in summary, the ‘stumbling blocks’ Paul was talking about in Romans was: anything that hinders a relationship with God and others. We have a responsibility as Christians to encourage one another, not to cause them to stumble. Romans 14:2-13 states that one day we’re going to be judged by God on how our decisions affected other people.

    Not only do these actions and decisions affect others, they affect OUR relationship with God. We can’t grow closer in our relationship with Him if we have ‘stumbling blocks’ in our own life.

Questions to ask before making choices: 

  • “What would Jesus do?”
  • “If God were standing beside me right now, would I be embarrassed by my current behavior?”
  • “Will my choice harm other people?”
“What stumbling blocks are your actions or behaviors creating for others?”