Temptations to Sin
“If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell, where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched.
“For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”
One of the things that I see in my children from time to time that I am sure I NEVER did when I was a kid was they do things just to bug one another. They know exactly which buttons to push on one another to get the reaction that they want. The regular message back from my wife and me is that a reaction is to work to fight against the temptation to respond as the “tempter” wants them to. But it is so hard, we have a natural response to want to react angrily, or to fight back, or a host of other things. But there’s the other side of it…what about the one who tempts? The one who causes another to stumble? Jesus notes here that there will be people who will tempt us and we will be tempted to respond in ways that are not of God. I do love the last line of this – be at peace with one another.
But the majority of this is about the ways that we cause others to stumble – especially when we are doing it intentionally. When we know what will cause others to stumble and fall and yet we still do it. Our calling is to rise above this and to model a new way. A way where we are working to build up and not tear down. Its hard, but its the call.