Romans 14:13 and 14

Let us therefore not judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way. I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing clean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

Yesterday, we referred to the pace of play issue surrounding the Tour. Another problem rearing it’s head is the practice of “backstopping.” Backstopping is leaving your ball on the green without marking it while your playing partner plays his shot from off the green. The issue arises when there is an intent to backstop or assist the player in the event he/she pitches or chips and the unmarked ball keeps the active ball from rolling further from the hole or off the green. While not appreciated by Tour rules officials, we as Christians need to be backstops for our fellow brothers and sisters. We should make it a point to keep others from falling into the snares of temptation. Our quoted text goes a step further and desires us to be cognizant of never being a stumbling block to others. A stumbling block is allowing or creating a hindrance to a fellow Christian from being closer to Christ. Christians are constantly confronted with the question whether consuming alcohol is sinful. We can argue over the consumption of wine in the Bible until Tiger Woods wins his next major. However, we cannot dispute that any particular thing is a sin if its consumption or participation is a hindrance or separates us from Christ. If you are on the pro-alcohol side of the debate, would inviting your new business associate out for drinks after work be sinful? How about if you find out the next morning, he is a recovering alcoholic? You can reason with yourself “he could have declined my invitation.” Yes, he is a free moral agent, but he was already predisposed to excess consumption and most likely felt unduly coerced from your working relationship. As the scripture notes, nothing is unclean in and of itself, but turns unclean and a stumbling block if it is detrimental for yourself or another person. My prayer for today is to be aware of anything I say or do and the possible consequences of my actions on others. I pray to uplift and make those around me stronger in Christ. Ask yourself, would my spouse/child/coworker be more likely to be saved if I was not in his/her life? Such a question brings us to reality of what kind of witness we are for Christ.

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