Sometimes.

Sometimes, a stumbling block is a good thing. It makes people start watching where they’re stepping. Especially when it involves truth and facts that fly in the face of what we have “always believed.”

Sometimes, I have been the one doing the stumbling, wanting to believe some things I have always been taught, but bashing my toes hard on a very solid bit of Fact. When that happens, I look carefully at the stumbling block, searching for truth. I can’t always say I have found it, but I believe I have come much nearer to it than I was before, and I am encouraged to keep questioning. After all, how else could I possibly get an answer?

Sometimes, I am the one putting a block in place, and causing others to stub their toes. Some people will never get past what they think and believe to be “right,” and will continue to lecture everyone else, regardless of the context of individual situations or needs. They conveniently forget that there is liberty in Christ, and instead favor applying personal convictions to everyone around them.

This is called legalism.

Not one of the issues I have in mind has any moral or doctrinal significance whatsoever.

Yes, a person’s convictions may be legitimate, but where there is no explicit command or prohibition, we have freedom to prayerfully choose a course of action. I encourage others to search for principles in the Bible that apply to their situation, pray sincerely for wisdom, and then move forward, realizing that God may lead others in a different direction, depending on the needs of those around them.

What we do or do not do does not make us more or less godly than another person. It’s all about the actual motivations behind our actions. Yes, faith without works is dead, but works without sincere faith are meaningless too, and it’s sometimes very difficult to tell the difference.

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” ~1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV – emphasis mine)

So, yes, a stumbling block can be a good thing, as long as it is a block made of Truth, founded on Love. This kind will not cause someone to sin – only to stop and think, and perhaps look at things from a different angle.

Remember that Jesus is the greatest Stumbling Block of history. People stumbled all over the place around him, and still do, because he brought Truth to the table. Unadulterated, unfiltered, hard Truth. The key to remember is that he shared it in love, with a motivation to save, not to dictate minutiae, as the Pharisees were doing.

Sometimes, a stumbling block is a good thing, and I hope to be the kind that Jesus is.

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