Falling Down Hurts
Oh, sure, there may have been a time when we could fall down and not even notice, but we all reach a point where we don’t want to fall down anymore because we know it is going to hurt. And when we have reached that point, the very thought of pushing someone else down or tripping them and causing them to fall is something we would not rationally entertain. Why not? Because falling down hurts. We know this to be true physically, and by and large we practice caution for the sake of others, but how do we handle this spiritually?
“Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.” (Romans 14:13)
Paul spent all of Romans 14 making this point. He used the example of meats which had been offered to idols, but this is his point: resolve to not make your brother fall down. Sure, Romans 14 gives us a tight line to follow. You have to do what you know to be right, but at the same time not let what you are doing trip anyone else. And sometimes it gets tough. Really tough. That means that sometimes you have to refrain from doing things that you might have the right to do in order to keep those around you safe; sometimes you have to do what you have to do, but in as gentle a way possible. Sometimes you have to swallow your pride, your stubbornness, and your attitude to be the person that someone else needs you to be. Why? Because falling down spiritually hurts, too.
Think about it. If you trip someone and cause them to fall—accidentally, it is hoped—they fall, they feel the pain, they suffer the consequences. You might be apologetic, help them up, dust them off, apologize again, and part ways. You won’t be there, though, when they struggle to get out bed the next morning or can’t even tie their shoes because of being sore. Spiritually, the reactions and the consequences are much, much worse. If you cause someone to fall spiritually—please, pray it is accidentally—the possibility exists that you will never apologize, never help them up, and never dust them off. Why? Because you can’t see the spiritually pain you have inflicted. You may even think to yourself that it wasn’t even your fault and they should have known better than to have tripped over that. You won’t be there, either, when they can’t sleep at night because of the pain, nor will you be helping hold them up on the Day of Judgment when they must answer for their transgressions, the very ones you helped to cause. (Incidentally, they won’t be standing beside you, either, when you have to answer for your own transgressions.)
Falling down hurts. Don’t fall down, and don’t make anyone else fall, either.