Thursday, January 6, 2011
HOW OFTEN WE'RE STUMBLING BLOCKS TO ONE ANOTHER
“Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him.
‘Never, Lord!’ he said, ‘This shall never happen to You!’
Jesus turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind Me, Satan!
You are a stumbling block to Me; you do not have in mind
the things of God, but the things of men.’”
Brothers, how often we are stumbling blocks to one another on the road with Christ.
How often we, like Peter here, think we have the answers for one another, and blurt them out like platitudes, instead of listening to the Holy Spirit. How often we grieve the heart of God with our minds that are set on the things of men, rather than on the things of God. We dole out our recipes for this and that situation, heedless of the work of God that is taking place, numb to His Ways, and try to influence things in our direction.
We must learn, as Peter did over time, that we must decrease, and Christ must increase, and that His Ways are not our ways. As we get the mind of Christ in us, gradually more and more, we will understand more of His Ways, and will see things His Way.
But in the meantime, many of us make others stumble by our foolish and stupid words and pronouncements.
We would do better to cut out our tongues than to hurt another’s walk with Christ by our foolish counsel.
I know of a man and woman who were unemployed, very poor, abandoned by most family and friends, and in a great deal of pain. The woman was sick with a debilitating disease, and needed her medications bought, but they had no money to buy them, and no insurance. These people told their pastor and his wife their situation. They hoped some brother or sister in the local church they attended could help them by purchasing the medicines. These were not cheap, because the woman had tried every generic for her medicines, and none worked for her, in fact, they gave her bad reactions.
This pastor and his wife, instead of getting someone to extend a loving hand, began fighting with the man and woman, telling her she must go to generic, because “beggars can’t be choosers” and if people were going to help them, they must be helped on the helper’s terms. They called the couple that was in trouble “users”, and told them that the people in the church thought of them that way.
This story illustrates the thing talked about by Jesus with Peter.
Our words and our attitudes, if worldly, can hurt the faith of the people around us. Peter assumed he knew what was good for Jesus. Jesus rebuked him sharply, and taught Peter a lesson in humility.
God will teach us, but not if we’re listening only to ourselves.
Do we have in mind the things of God, or just our own opinions about how life should be for Christians? Do we hold to worldly beliefs, like “beggars can’t be choosers”, which is totally against Scripture, or do we give our brothers love and acceptance, and only the Word of God we know is true?
Stumbling blocks are of Satan. Let’s be careful with one another, erring on the side of supporting everyone in love.
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