Luke 17:1-4 (ESV)
Temptations to Sin
17 And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin[a] are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! 2 It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.[b] 3 Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, 4 and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”
Today’s reading from Luke makes me want to go out and purchase a millstone because I know that I am guilty of doing exactly what Jesus tells us not to do. Although I try not to, I know that there are times when I place my own self and needs above those of others. Even if I were to wake up each morning and tell myself that I wasn’t going to put myself in front of others I would stumble and it would end up happening. We all put stumbling blocks in front of others. Who knows exactly why, but day after day, our thoughts and actions become like stumbling blocks, holding others back. Jesus has some harsh words for those who leave stumbling blocks. He tells us that it would be better for us to tie a millstone around our necks and be thrown into the sea rather than to leave these stumbling blocks to weigh down others. It would be better that we would be dead rather than to hurt others.
Jesus, however, offers to us a different path. He reminds us that we are to forgive others when they sin against us. We were and continue to be a sinful people, not worthy of God’s grace. Through the cross and resurrection, Jesus offers to us the forgiveness of all our sins and is telling us that we need to offer that same forgiveness to one another. Even though we place stumbling blocks upon one another, Jesus reminds us that we need to offer forgiveness when others repent for the actions they have caused. Jesus knows that we aren’t perfect. However, by forgiving others, maybe we can begin to change the stumbling blocks into building blocks, to continue building up one another and the church.
Dear Jesus, help us to see the ways we place stumbling blocks in front of others. Give us the wisdom and courage to replace these stumbling blocks with building blocks, so that we would continue to strengthen and uplift each other, your church, and the world. Amen.
Written by Pastor Adam Connolly Pastor of Outreach and Discipleship firstname.lastname@example.org