Jesus said: “If you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone hung around your neck.” Mark 9:42
In saying this, Jesus may be talking about children, but it’s quite likely that he is talking about new Christians. His concern is to protect the vulnerable, and he has some very challenging things to say. He is fiercely angry at the thought of anyone deliberately tripping someone up in their faith. Whether they are young, disabled, poor, illiterate or simply new to the faith, it is totally unacceptable for anyone to take advantage of them.
I am delighted that we live in days when safeguarding is given such a high priority. A vast amount of energy is expended in churches and charities in order to ensure that good practice is followed. It is hugely expensive in terms of money and time but it is all worth it, because everyone matters and we need to have a special care for those who are most vulnerable. That’s Jesus’ way. He is the one who offers good news to everyone, not just the strong and confident.
Jesus then went even further, telling his disciples that if their hand or foot caused them to sin, they should cut it off; if their eyes were the problem, they should gouge them out. I have never heard of a church that practised this and I don’t believe that that was Jesus’ intention. What I believe he was wanting to impress upon his followers, then and now, is that we mustn’t play games with the kingdom of God. Following Jesus is so serious that we need to ensure we do everything we can to obey his commands. If we need to completely change our lives in order to align it to his will, that’s what we should do.
In what ways do you need to care for the vulnerable in your own community?
Loving Lord Jesus, thank you that you invite me to follow you. Help me to follow you with my whole heart and never to do anything that might cause someone else to stumble. Amen