I was walking to work about a week ago, there was a young man with his son who was barely 3 years old walking side by side in front of me, so I had an acute view of their every move and could even hear a bit of their conversation.
Daddy would point to a tree and say ‘tree’ or point to a car and say ‘car’ and the little one will attempt saying as daddy said, it was very cute to say the least.
As we all approached a zebra crossing, I noticed daddy started to slow them down, he said to baby, pointing to the white lines on the black road ‘this is a zebra crossing, each time you get here, look to see if car is coming before you cross’. I perceive daddy was going to put some practice to the theory he was teaching so he stopped and asked baby to look left and right to see if any car was coming.
At this point, I had caught up with them and as baby was looking to identify ‘car’, I walked into the zebra crossing because my peripheral vision had not picked up any cars, but baby’s peripheral vision hadn’t grown to the point of picking up items in distances that easily. As I got to the other side, I turned in such a way that I could still catch a glimpse of them, and as I did, I saw baby’s questioning look to daddy and back at me, almost like ‘but daddy she didn’t look left and right, why do I have to?‘. I heard daddy say ‘don’t do that, always look left and right before stepping into the road‘ and at that point, I had moved out of sight and was unable to see or hear them because they were now completely behind me.
I felt slightly bad and guilty. Bad that I had ruined daddy’s lesson to baby and guilty because baby was now questioning daddy’s instruction to look left and right when someone else did not. But hey, how was I going to get late to work and explain to my boss that I was helping a 3 year old learn how to cross the road with a zebra crossing? lol
Today, a week later, as I walked to work again, God brought the whole ordeal back to my mind and He followed it with 1 Corinthians 8:9 – “Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak.” and Romans 14:13b – “...but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother“.
God was teaching me that it would have been lovely if I stopped, even though I saw no cars coming, just so that baby could learn that lesson for the future. My action in walking into the road amidst his learning stood as a stumbling block that I pray to God that daddy can remove.
God took it out of that context and started to teach me that I am responsible for any actions or inactions at my level of growth that will cause another coming behind me to stumble. In other words, it is fine to adjust my lifestyle to help my fellow brother in Christ learn something. Growing Christians should not use me as an excuse not to do what Abba says.
If I drink without getting drunk and a new convert is being taught not to drink to avoid any chance of being a drunkard in the first place, the growing Christian should not use me as a reference as to why it is still okay to drink because in that case, I have become a stumbling block to them accepting that wisdom. Too many Christians today use their freedom at the detriment of the growing believers and it is something to be very wary of because the bible says ‘woe to the person through whom these stumbling blocks come’ (Matthew 18:7).
Part of being our brothers keeper is ensuring that our lives are consistent with what they read in the bible. When there is a difference, it raises questions and doubts and in some cases, excuses as to why they also cannot or should not be expected to do certain things.
This should not feel like pressure or a burden, remember that there is A Spirit in man and so, you’re the onlooking teacher to other believers who is just as responsible as the teacher teaching.