Don’t Be a Stumbling Block…
Beyond avoiding our own stumblnig blocks, we must ensure that we are not putting them in the way of others:
Then let us no longer judge one another, but rather resolve never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. -Romans 14:13, NAB
On our path of faith, the journey can be difficult. The road is filled with temptations that will try to pull us off of the path to Christ and towards something else. These temptations may cause us to stumble on our journey, and we must be careful in every step we take.
Where do these stumbling blocks come from? Primarily, the world around us. In the fallen world we live in today, it seems as if there are more stumbling blocks than ever before, and, of course, the last thing we need is for someone to put more stumbling blocks in our way, especially other Christians and Catholics. Then, why do we continue to put stumbling blocks in front of others? Sometimes, its because we don’t even realize that we’re doing it:
I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; still, it is unclean for someone who thinks it unclean. If your brother is being hurt by what you eat, your conduct is no longer in accord with love. Do not because of your food destroy him for whom Christ died. So do not let your good be reviled. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of food and drink, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the holy Spirit; whoever serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by others. -Romans 14:14-18
What does this mean? Even if something is not technically a sin, if it causes your fellow Catholic to stumble, then stop! Drinking alcohol itself is not a sin, but if your best friend is a recovering alcoholic, then don’t offer him or her a beer. If someone you know is struggling with sexual purity, don’t go see a movie with “questionable content.” Even if it is as simple as someone on a diet or fasting, don’t sit down in front of them with a big, greasy burger. It seems like common sense, yet we do it all the time.
Our goal should be to help remove the stumbling blocks for our loved ones, not place them there. Let’s be conscious of our actions, even the smallest ones. Sometimes, we just don’t realize how our simple choices can become big hurdles for someone else.