Day 211 – The Devil is in the Detail
On: May 30, 2015   |   By: SWLadmin   |   Under: Blog   |   Comments: Comments are off

Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble. So watch yourselves. “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.” Luke 17:1-4

Today we take a spin around around sin. Summary: sin will happen, but make sure it’s not because of your doing. When it does, it needs addressing. If it’s you committing the sin, repent. If it’s you being sinned against, forgive … repeatedly, if necessary.

There are three words beginning with S used twice in these verses. The one that catches my eye is not Sin, or Seven, but Stumble. To stumble, in my dictionary, is “to miss one’s step; trip and almost fall.” So, if I cause someone to stumble, is it not a relatively minor interference, not shoving them so hard that they fall and hurt themselves?

Jesus’s response seems to be quite out of proportion: “better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck”. Overboard or what! Surely that’s not an eye for an eye (Exodus 21:24)?

But, wait. Life is hard. Even if we’re not living in a war zone or struck down with famine or disease, the pressures of everyday life can take it out of the strongest of us. In this context, even a little trip can be the final straw that breaks the camel’s back and pushes us over the edge.

Our misdemeanour, in itself, might not be the greatest crime in history, but it’s effect on another’s life might be unexpectedly serious. With that in mind, we need to listen to and weigh carefully Jesus’ warning.

We have a choice: to try and carry out as many small acts of kindness as we are able to. Or to ride roughshod over those around us. But, in choosing, let’s be aware that the devil is in the detail. Those small deeds.

Looking at it the other way around – how would I like to be treated?


Father God, help me to act and speak carefully, that I might be kind, not careless, in how I treat friends, family, neighbours and colleagues. Amen.

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