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New thoughts on not offending

Faith & Inspiration

"And he said to his disciples, 'Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come. It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin. Pay attention to yourselves. If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, "I repent," you must forgive him'" (Luke 17:1-4).

What temptations are "sure to come"? Sexual temptations, of course. And what would "cause one of these little ones to sin"? Sexual temptations, of course: porn, R-rated movies, lifestyle examples of immorality.

This is all true, and it is pretty much the only way I have ever read these verses.

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But today I noticed that verses 3 and 4 follow verses 1 and 2. Not a brilliant observation, I admit, but one that gave me pause. May it be that the seemingly random teachings in verses 3 and 4 are meant to be illustrations of the exhortation in verses 1 and 2? It occurs to me that there is no reason why my mind should leap directly to the sensation sins when reading the warning about causing children to sin. Why? Is sex the only thing that ruins children?

If I am right, then you and I are in a serious position indeed. We are being told here that if we are too lazy and loveless to rebuke a sinning brother, and if we are too proud to forgive a repenting brother, we are being dreadful models to our children. Kids see everything, and they will become like what they see, no matter how many Sunday school classes we send them to.

It is very sobering indeed to consider that if I do not forgive a person who is mean to me and then sincerely apologizes seven times a day-and if this is my usual spiritually sloppy and self-satisfied habit-then it would be better for me if a millstone were hung around my neck and I were cast into the sea.

Andrée Seu
Andrée Seu

Andrée is the author of three books: Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me, Normal Kingdom Business, and We Shall Have Spring Again. Follow Andrée on Twitter @Andreespeterson.

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