Don't be a Stumbling Block

Text: Luke 17:1
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to anyone by whom they come! (NRSV)

When we pray the Lord’s Prayer we say “lead us not into temptation…”  I have heard people express concerns about this particular wording.  The argument is, “why would one even think that God would lead us into temptation?”  And really, I guess that makes sense.  If God is good and righteous, and Jesus clearly believes that one being the cause of someone else’s “stumbling” is worse than someone actually “stumbling”, then it really is hard to believe that we have to request in prayer that God not “lead us into temptation”.

I think the idea that is being expressed in the Lord’s Prayer is actually that God lead us “away” from temptation as apposed to not lead us “into” temptation.  But more than that, I think the idea is also that we would not be the source of someone else’s temptation.  In other words, the prayer may very well be understood as to keep us out of all situations that would generate “stumbling”.  It may be our stumbling, but it also may be us causing someone else to stumble as in today’s verse.

One thing is for sure, if we add as part of our prayer life the request that we not be the source of someone else’s temptation or actual stumbling, we will be unlikely to be the recipient of the “woe” that Jesus warns about in our reading for today.

Pray with me:

God of love and God of righteousness keep me from all situations in which I might be tempted to stumble and keep me ever vigilant in my own words and actions that I might not be the source of someone else’s temptation or stumbling that I might live in a way that brings honor and glory to your name in all that I say and do.  AMEN.

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