OFFENCE . . . Whether by design or by accident

Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. So watch yourselves. “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.” (Reference: Luke 17:1-3 )

If you changed “sin” to “misfortune” this verse would describe my day perfectly. And I would certainly echo the “woe” that Jesus pronounces. But the misfortunes of this day did not come about because of sin, not mine and not anyone else’s. In fact, much of my misfortune came about because I showed compassion, caring, patience and mercy on some people – which caused massive complications in my day. How can I attribute this to any sin?

Could or should I say “woe” on to the people who caused the complications? Or “woe” onto my self for heeding their needs? No. But it is a “woe” that they happened. And IF someone DID mean to cause the problems, “woe” unto them. But as Jesus said, these things happen. If a brother or sister meant to cause problems or sin, they must be rebuked. But if, as in my case this day, the brother or sister did NOT mean to cause problems (setting aside whether or not it was a sin) then I need to understand and forgive them. Which I did/do.

It is an interesting thing about misfortune and deliberate negative actions. It results in consequences! Both good and bad! I feel fortunate that as the result of my day there were only positives. Need actions were taken as a result, and encouraging outcomes were seen in the form of change and decisions. At this writing, there are no negatives. But I need to keep in mind that some of my misfortune was the result of some poor decisions made by others. I will need to keep watch that any poor decisions made in the future do not have the same unfortunate consequences of making misfortune for me. On the other side though, you can not predict tough and stressful times. If one went through life keeping others at a safe distance where their unwise decisions would not affect you, one would not be emulating Christ. Maybe that is why he said “Things . . . are bound to come.” And if someone repents, you must forgive them.

May you beloved live life “on the edge”, being open to people and the “sin” (or whatever else) they might bring. And may you bring only good cheer and pleasant consequences to the people you encounter and interact with. Selah!