Stumbling; July 18, 2020

Matthew 11:6 “Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”

This verse is actually closely linked to verse 15: “He who has ears, let him hear.” God has revealed Himself to us through His Son, (Hebrews 1:1-2) but it is up to us to receive that revelation and not choke on it. There were those who choked in Jesus’ day and refused to listen to Him, and there are those today who likewise reject the Gospel, simply because it requires accountability and repentance. Recent events have exposed the true motives of some of the “protesters” in the US, as they have started attacking religious statues and burning churches. That was actually what they were about all along, but they dressed it up with calls for “racial justice.” As has been pointed out, America does have racist people in it, but it is the least racist multi-racial country in the world. That was never the true issue. The devil has always been working, but especially over the past 70 years he has been corrupting America’s institutions, particularly focusing on education, so that prayer and the Bible were thrown out of schools and an actively anti-Biblical agenda was promoted. I am deeply blessed that I attended a genuinely church-related college, because that was in the period when “hippie” culture exploded, with its emphasis on throwing off societal norms. From that period on, many people deliberately stopped their ears and closed their eyes to the Gospel, and in that state it is guaranteed that you will stumble. (The Japanese translation of this verse says “stumble,” rather than “fall away.”) The only solution is for those who have accepted the Gospel to proclaim it in love, not “going along to get along” but going against the tide of filth and rebellion against God. We aren’t to be discouraged, however, but remember that “the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4) We are on the winning side!

I didn’t get the worst of the hippie culture, and again by God’s grace I got married right out of college, so that was further protection, but I was still influenced by the flow of society, as I think we all are. I had grown up with the Bible, but my ears got pretty dull there for quite a while, and I wasn’t listening to what God was saying to me. I thought the Bible was good as the guideline for society, but I failed to apply it to my specific situation all too often. That should give me understanding and empathy toward the people I deal with as a pastor, but “understanding and empathy” must not preclude speaking the truth in love. I must call sin, sin, and not excuse it with whatever society is saying these days. When people stumble I am to extend a hand, but not let them pull me down into the mud with them!

Father, all of this calls for more wisdom than any human being has naturally. Thank You that You do share Your wisdom with all who ask for it in humility. (James 1:5) May I operate in Your wisdom and not my own, so that I will not stumble or cause anyone else to do so, but walk with assurance in obedience to You. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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