“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. “Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes! And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.” Matthew 18:6-9
In the beginning of time a snake confronted Eve and tempted her to take the fruit God said to not eat. She took the fruit then tempted her husband to eat the fruit with her. Both Adam and Eve fell into sin by disobeying God. Our world is full of snakes, Adams, Eves and forbidden fruit. We encounter temptations everywhere. I wish I could say the church was free of temptations but the truth is temptations are found even within the body of Christ. Temptations are found even within our marriages. For where there are people, there is sin and thus there are temptations. We cannot escape it.
My encounters with the body of Christ have been full of temptations. It makes it challenging to rest because the body of Christ feels more like a battle field where I am trying to avoid temptations then a peaceful, restful, quiet place. This has made me contemplate how I as an individual can work to NOT be a temptation to others. How can I not be like Eve. For I want to avoid falling into temptations but I also want to avoid tempting others. I want to make the body of Christ and my home a safe place to rest and one way I do that is by being carful to not induce temptations in others. Sometimes we tempt others without even realizing it. Sometimes we are oblivious to how our actions are affecting others. But one way we can be a good spouse, sister and brother in Christ is by working to not be a temptation to others.
For us women this means being carful about our interpersonal relationships with men. It means being carful about how we dress and behave. It means making sure there is accountability when it comes to relationships with the opposite sex. But it also means working on our own selves so that we are a good example to other women. We want to be a model for other women to follow. For if we are conducting ourselves in a sinful way we are tempting other women to do the same. You would be surprised by how much of our behaviors and thinking are influenced by those around us.
Sin is very much like the coronavirus. It proliferates. It is contagious. The best way to fight sin is through herd immunity. If the body of Christ as a whole is immune to sin then it will have no place in the body of Christ. We need to all vaccinate ourselves to sin so that we protect others within the body of Christ that are weaker and more vulnerable. We protect others by making sure we are not inducing temptations in others.
How have you been a temptation to others in the past? How can you change to prevent tempting others? How can you conduct yourself differently to model good behaviors for others?