1 Cor. 10:32
"Do not cause anyone to stumble."
STUMBLE: To almost fall due to lost of balance or tripping.
We can become a stumbling block to others in ways we do not even realize. Sometimes it's something we were constantly heard saying, or seen doing. It could be something we failed to uphold yet we expected others to. At other times it was the way we treated people and the things we said to others about them.
A stumble could lead to a fall. One's spiritual progress could be hindered. We all know that no one's perfect, but that cannot be the excuse for the lack of personal responsibility when it comes to others.
I have seen what happens to a brother or sister in Christ who were stumbled. Some have been discouraged and turned off and won't set their feet back into any 'Church', while others have come to hate Christians and Christianity. I have stated in one of my posts, a couple of weeks ago, that I won't criticize such persons because I clearly understand where they are coming from.
Unfortunately, and sadly, our journey here on earth, will not keep us from stumbling blocks or offenses. Scripture admonishes us to avoid at all costs, being a stumbling block to others.
Stumbling others is a very serious thing, yet, one cannot, for the rest of their lives allow it to stagnate their spiritual growth or keep them from coming to know the Lord. But, it can be a real tough thing to get over, depending on the severity and degree of the thing that was done.
When King David sin egregiously, (adultery, murder, etc.), many were stumbled by him until the day he died. That's how intense it can be.
Leaders must be above reproach! They must examine themselves constantly and so must the rest of us. We don't get a pass just because we are not in some leadership role. The congregants must sit in judgement of themselves and make efforts to not mis-represent what they say they believe (hypocrisy) by engaging in ungodly behavior. We set the examples for the younger ones. The younger ones, coming along, will do as we do! It doesn't matter what we preach or what we say. Bad or ungodly behavior breeds much of the same within our churches.
If we should fail and cause someone an offense, or potentially cause them to stumble, we should go and address it before it does any damage. I have more respect for the Christian who admits they were wrong and apologizes (which allows us to be gained one to the other), than the one who acts as though nothing happen; because that individual would lose me FOREVER! There are some of us who think that we are above correction! They are the worst!!! PRIDE IS A KILLER!
It doesn't matter what your area of service or gifting is, if you go around stumbling people, you are ineffective!! You will have no influence and your words will fall to the ground. You will be despised.
Let's make every effort to care about others and watch our words and actions, examining each one carefully, before we let them out of the gate. Ask yourself, "If I say this or do that or be seen with this person, what signal could I be sending and could this stumble someone?"