Causing Others To Sin – Why You Can’t Force People Into God’s Kingdom

From today’s reading, we hear a popular saying of Jesus about children and childlike people:

Jesus said to his disciples,
“Things that cause sin will inevitably occur,
but woe to the one through whom they occur.
It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck
and he be thrown into the sea
than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin (Luke 17:1-2, NAB).

Statue of Jesus

This raises an issue I have thought about for a long time, and that is the failure to realize that the way we present the message of Jesus is just as important as the message itself. Granted, logically it shouldn’t be that way, but it is.

How many of us have encountered Christians that have tried to bash, badger, and harass people into the kingdom of God? The greatest spiritual poison in my life has been hanging out on theological forums and blogs that have made me less loving, less merciful, and stirred within me more hatred for my fellow human beings. As I was carrying on debates in my head as I fell asleep, I never had room for prayer…imagine that!

I was on one forum where a contributor told another contributor (whom we will call “heretic A”) to F**k off.” When asked about it, he said that he had to use the “f” word, in case a child read the forum, they would clearly realize that “Heretic A” was a heretic. This is an extreme example, but I can give plenty more examples.

I have news for you; this style doesn’t work. Jesus didn’t use that method, nor did the early Christians. Jesus met people where they were. He had mercy on those that needed it most. One of the lessons of teaching junior high and high school students is that I have had to learn to meet people where they are, and speak the truth with a gentle nudge instead of a big stick.

About David Bennett

David Bennett is an author, speaker, and small business owner. He started ChurchYear.Net in 2004, along with his brother Jonathan. The site gets over one million visitors a year, and Bennett’s writings have appeared in church bulletins, newspapers, and other media.

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