“If anyone causes . . . ” — Mark 9:42
I’ll never forget a hike we took with students in a canyon in Arizona. The path was steep and narrow. One of the students was scared of losing her footing but still wanted to make the hike. So for the entire time, she held onto the back of my backpack for stability and security. I’ve never watched my footing so carefully, because someone along with me was relying on it.
I think about that hike when I read this passage. Causing someone else to stumble on a treacherous path would be cruel. Causing someone else to stumble in their faith could be devastating. Jesus took it so seriously that he said it would be better to tie a giant rock around your neck and drown than to cause someone to stumble. I’ve worked with students for many years, and while I’ve been a mentor and role model to many, I’m sure I’ve caused some students to stumble as well. Those instances cause me pain.
Our calling as followers of Christ is to walk with others who are journeying the same way we are. We support each other in our faith. We strive to be there when questions are asked. We try to be a shoulder to cry on and a partner to laugh with. We journey together.
Jesus reminds us to be a support for others rather than causing them to stumble or fall. We must also watch out for the things in our life that can cause us to stumble. It’s better to get rid of them than to fall.
Father, help us to hold each other up in our journey of faith, and help us to rid ourselves of the things that cause us to stumble. In Jesus’ name, Amen.