Stumbling block inventory

Finding faults in others is a popular pastime.  Unfortunately, a lot of us find it’s easy to join the fun. Concentrating on the flaws of others can be a great way to feel better about ourselves.  That’s typically, the problem!  Avoiding the faults that need to be fixed in our own lives, not only dampers our spiritual growth, it too gets in the way of God’s work through us. God’s effectiveness through our lives is made better or is hindered by the way we live.

In Romans 14:13 the apostle Paul tells of the character we should have.

Therefore, let us not judge one another, anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.

Back up in verse 10 he states:

But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

We are all in this together.  Why be so petty about things?

If we want to be authentic & useful for the Lord, we must continually take a stumbling block inventory.  At times stumbling blocks are things that in and of themselves may be real.  Yet in certain contexts, may be inappropriate.  But sin is clearly a stumbling block to others.  Gossip, slander, boasting, bitterness, greed, abuse, anger, selfishness, and revenge all close the hearts of those around us to the message God sends through us.  Just to think, our lives, may be the only Bible some people ever see.  Now, that’s a big responsibility that we have.  To keep ourselves clean & unspotted from the world. (James 1: 27)  You may say, “but you just don’t know how mean this person is or how hurtful they have been to me.” I do know this, there is no problem too big that you & God can’t work out. Let God have His way with people.  In life people will be mean, rude, unfair, gossipy, hurtful, and greedy.  Pray for those people.  Don’t let their hatred consume your heart & make you the same things they are. We must be the bigger person.

In Matthew 5:43-44, Jesus preaching his sermon from the mountain said this:

“You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. v.44 But I say to you, love our enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” 

Now, that’s a tough pill to swallow!  Pray for someone who has said bad things about me?  Pray for someone who has embarrassed me?  Pray for someone whose selfishness has caused me to hurt?  You may ask,”Why does that person deserve my prayers?”  If you look at it from God’s perspective- these prayers are for your benefit.  For you to keep a heart that’s willing to mention a person who does not deserve God’s graciousness.  Those people are the ones who need it the most.  And it’s hard to keep bitterness locked up in a heart full of prayer.  God does not want us to be angry.  He wants us to love.  And what better way to keep that love in your heart, than to lift up someone in prayer? It’s hard to be selfish or mad when you are asking a blessing over someone who’s wronged you.  Get the picture?  God loves us & does not want us to be someone who lets a situation eat at them.  He wants us praying for each other & not being someone with so much emotional baggage that His work can’t be seen in us.

I Cor 13: 4-5 says thatprov love is kind, does not envy, does not parade itself, is not puffed up, does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil.

We should strive to condition ourselves to be kind, no matter what.  God says in order to love, we must be kind.  In the end, our kindness is what matters the most.  We have to be responsible for what we have done in our lives, how we have acted & treated people, not how they have treated us.  God will have His day with those folks! He even says so –

Romans 12:19…”Vengence is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 

Now, don’t you think God can handle these hard to deal with people better than you?  Of course He can.  A dear friend of mine has said her mother used to say, “Kill them with kindness.”  I think that is a very good lesson.  When someone hurts your feelings, just be kind.  When someone says mean things about you, be kind.  When someone is rude to you, be kind.  That way, they can see God living in you.  That will either turn them toward God, or just make them mad.  Either way, you have done your part by being what God wants you to be- kind.

So, let’s replace our faults with the wonderful ways of Jesus.  This will help others to see our Savior more clearly.

Some of this message was taken from an Our Daily Bread article written by Joe Stowell.  I have so many thoughts about this subject.  Maybe I will write more about it later.  But for now, I have to go because I should be washing clothes………..

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