“If you trip, do not cause another person to fall.”
I look back at the first day of my freshman year of high school – while walking up the stairs to my second class, Science Interactions, someone stepped on the back of my flip-flop. I fell up the stairs, dropped all of my books… and as I stood up, I lost my balance and fell back down the stairs, knocking over a couple other students in the process. We all tumbled into the hallway and landed in a giant pile at the bottom of the lunch line.
Looking back now, it’s funny. Hilarious, really. “Typical first day of high school.” No one was hurt in the process. In fact, as I shared the story with some of my high school classmates over the summer, many of the people involved forgot that it happened at all.
But not every experience ends up the same way. There are times that when we trip and cause others to fall, they end up getting hurt. And in our Christian faith, it is part of our duty to refrain from causing others to stumble.
Let’s break this down for a second in “Science Interaction terms”: “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” Most, if not all of us, are familiar with this concept. When my flip flop was stepped on, I tripped, which caused others to also fall in the process. In life, every action we take part in is related to a reaction.
A few verses I heard last year during The Gathering have been echoing in my heart. They come from the book of Romans, Chapter 14:
“Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another… If your brother or sister is injured by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love… Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” – Romans 14: 13, 15, 19
Too often, we forget that each person we encounter is living a life that is as complex, vivid, and as emotionally fueled as our own. When we forget this, we can place a stumbling block in the way of others.
When we ignore someone, we can create disappointment. Jealousy.
When we push people, we can create guilt. Regret.
When we pass judgment, we refrain from recognizing our own faults, creating tension. Frustration.
If we do not remain cognizant of the effects influenced by our causes, we create a trial in which our brothers and sisters stumble over the things for which our Savior went to the cross. We must consider taking the initiative to live in God’s light-driven Word and walk in love to create opportunities for our fellow brothers and sisters to grow, not sink.
As we move throughout our day, it is important for us to remember that our actions can have a direct effect with the spread of God’s kingdom. If we walk with humility, show mercy, and do justice, we can live a life closer to being worthy of the calling from the Lord.
Lately, God has been placing on my heart my attitude of being quick-to-judge. Too often, I let the enemy create walls in my heart that are fueled by disappointment, fear, and frustration, which causes a distraction in which my mental focus is internalized rather than externally focused. It is critical for me to keep in mind that when I accept this attitude, I create a false belief that my actions will not influence a reaction.
This is something I will continue to pray about and maintain conscious awareness for, because I know that God knows my heart. It is part of my calling as a Christ follower to look at my heart and understand that this is not the attitude He is wishing for me to have. I also know that there will be times in which I fail to meet this call. However, at those times, I will fix on eyes on my one true King, the Voice of Truth, who will remind me of the life He has invited me to attend. We are all caught in the battle between light and dark, but when the light shines in the darkness, the darkness will not overcome (John 1:5).
Perhaps today is the day to ask God what He is asking you to change in your heart to cease the creation of a stumbling block for your fellow brothers and sisters. If you don’t feel the call today, consider keeping in your prayers that an opportunity that this realization will present itself.
Questions or Comments? Comment below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Live in light, walk in love.
Beautiful insight, Sophie! Xox
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