Monday, February 7, 2011

Catch me I'm falling - ok, not really.

"Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister."

We covered this a few weeks ago in Bible study and it came up again today....
on Facebook.

Someone who is loved dearly by our family posted the verse. Usually when I come across scriptural posts I just hit 'Like' in response and hope that encourages the 'poster' to continue the practice. Considering the general hodge-podge of posts it's refreshing to come across a piece of encouragement now and then.

For some reason on this one I couldn't stop at Like. Something, likely some self serving motive or desire to vent drove me to actually post something.

I think there may be some unintentional misrepresentation going on here.

The first half of this passage says don't judge. That's it. It's clear, it's concise, it's straight to the point. It's simple, but certainly not always easy. (Note to self - possible future topic)

It's the second half that, in my humble and regularly erroneous opinion, that can pose a problem:

"Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister."

Personally, I've never been accused of violating this - at least not to my face.

Now what I'm going to say may seem surprising but I have heard of situations where the point of this passage gets misrepresented. You could say it's used, or misused, in a way that could be considered self serving. Certainly I've never been guilty of this either.

Stumbling block. Grumbling block. Two very different things. Yet I think the latter sometimes gets confused with the former.

You do something that causes me to doubt my faith, to veer off the path, to fall. That's a stumbling block.

You do something based on scripture that is designed to promote spiritual growth. It's new, it's different, it's not our tradition. I don't like it. But rather than give it a chance, rather than dive into the Word, I go for the game ending trump and throw out Romans 14:13 in an effort to keep things the way I want them. That's a grumbling block.

I'm not stumbling - I'm grumbling.

Instead, I should focus on what comes just a few verses later in Romans 14:19:

"Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification."

So I need to quit grumbling. I need to put the interests of others ahead of my own. I need to think about the well being of the body rather than myself.

Thankfully it was just hypothetical.