“Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. 2 It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble. 3 So watch yourselves.  “If your brother or sister against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. 4 Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”  5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”  6 He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you..” (Luke 17:1—6 NIV)


            Jesus said that things that cause people to stumble are bound to come.  There will always be things that happen in relationships with others.  People will face problems, and things are bound to happen.  While things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, we are not those who are the source of the problem.  We are not called to be troublemakers and stir things up.  Jesus did not have kind words for the troublemakers or those who caused people to stumble. 

            I am to live a life in such a way that it does not cause others to stumble.  Not everyone goes out of their way to stumble on someone.  But sometimes it happens.  I must watch the way I conduct myself as a believer.  I must always be aware of who I am and that I will not live a life that causes others to stumble.  Jesus speaks about those who cause “these little ones to stumble.”  These little ones refer to either little children who look up to mature believers or new believers in Christ. 

            So many times, I have been careless and forgotten who I am in Christ.  My life is a message, and I am like a book that is read by others.  People do not see Jesus physically, but they see me, who confesses that Christ lives in me.  Thus, the stern warning is, “SO WATCH YOURSELF.” 

            Jesus reminded me of things that  I MUST DO:


Relationships are always a challenge.   Even though we are not out to be a stumbling block to anyone, we are still responsible for how we respond to an offended person.  Thus, we must always watch how we live and carry ourselves before others.  There is no way we are always conscious or aware of our actions at all times.  We are human and often offend people.  Jesus admonition is, WATCH YOURSELF.   

Forgiving people is difficult but not impossible.  Jesus said, even if your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them, and if they repent, forgive them.  So if our brothers and sisters sin against us, we must not be afraid to rebuke them, but if they change and repent, we must forgive them.  Even if they keep sinning seven times IN A DAY, I must keep on forgiving them.  Like the apostles, in their response to Jesus, “Lord, INCREASE OUR FAITH!” 

Jesus reminded me today that I don’t need a huge amount of faith to deal with problems.  Jesus said, If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, be uprooted and will be done.  All I need to resolve issues in any relationship is not a huge faith but the willingness to choose to forgive.  I must learn to appropriate the faith that I already have to affect a huge change in the relationship. 


            I do know that there are times in my life when I have become a stumbling block to someone.  I also know that there are times that I have struggled to forgive people.  Today, I am reminded to watch myself more closely in how I behave and what I say so I won’t be the cause of destroying someone in the faith.  I want to learn how to forgive often. 


            Jesus, thank you for pointing out the importance of not being a stumbling block to someone who is watching us.   I pray that you help me to be the best that I can be to show others who you are in me.  Teach me always to be aware of who I am wherever I go.  Please teach me to learn how to forgive others no matter how many times they have failed my expectations.  I look to you, Lord, to teach me as I journey with you daily.  Please give me your humility and help me represent you well by my words and behavior.  Amen!