He said to His disciples, “It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come, but woe to him through whom they come! (Luke 17:1 NASB).
This is such a festive time of year, but it also seems that the holidays bring out the grumpiness in some people, such as the man I encountered last night. I went to pick up some books at the Marion County Library. As I was driving up Adams Street, I debated whether to park in the free 20 minute spot across the street from the library, or to pull into the paid lot beside the library. I elected to pull into the lot, and since it was after 4:30, I didn't think it was an issue. Boy, was I wrong!
Even though the attendant had let me park there for free when I came at a similar time on a different day, he wasn't in a giving mood last night. He chased me down, yelling at me that it was a paid lot. His appearance, being rather scraggly, served to make the whole experience rather unnerving.
Jesus promised us that stumbling blocks (offenses) will come. In the above verse, He used the word inevitable, which means: "certain to happen; unavoidable."
The Greek word for "stumbling blocks" in this verse is skandalon, which means: 1) the movable stick or trigger of a trap; 2) any impediment placed in the way and causing one to stumble or fall; 3) any person or thing by which one is (entrapped) drawn into error or sin.
If you can picture a box trap, the kind that is propped up by a stick, and tied to the stick is a rope that leads away to a hiding place (like a bush). When the prey goes to the bait in the trap, the stick is jerked away by the predator and the prey is now caught in the trap.
Doesn't that make the issue of offenses seem more clear? Every time a person, or a situation, offends us or causes us to stumble in our faith, it is a potential trap. When we take the bait--such as responding in anger or withdrawing--we can get trapped in bitterness and resentment, the unfortunate consequence of which is spreading our venom to others.
Since opportunities abound for offenses, I am praying that God will help me to guard my heart against them--so I don't end up being a stumbling block to others!