In Leviticus, God commanded His people not to curse the deaf, nor to put a stumbling block before the blind, but instead to fear the Lord (Lev. 19:14). Words that are very familiar to one who cares about pleasing God and loving his neighbor came from Jesus when Luke records, “Then said he, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him through whom they come!” (Luke 17:1).
Paul declared that one should judge that he not put a stumbling block in his brother’s way (Rom. 14:13). Paul demonstrated his willingness, and the proper attitude toward not being a stumbling block when he wrote, “If meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend” (1 Cor. 8:13). Paul was writing concerning the eating of meats sacrificed to idols. He understood that an idol was nothing, so if a meat he purchased had been previously offered as a sacrifice to an idol, it was just meat, and one was at liberty to eat it. However, he had warned that one must not allow that liberty to be a stumbling block to someone else (v. 9). That is why Paul wrote what he did in verse 13.
In this modern world with many people, “it is all about me.” They are going to do those things God has not ruled against, even if it causes someone else to sin, just because in their minds, whatever it is, it is their selfish right to do it. So, then, there are bad attitudes toward being a stumbling block to another person.
Some people will say, “I don’t care if it is a stumbling block to somebody else, I don’t care about what they think. ll I care about is doing what I’m free to do.” What more obvious way could there be for one to demonstrate the selfishness that exists in the hearts of so many? It further shows a disregard for what we call the golden rule (Matt. 7:12).
Some will say, “I don’t believe you are really offended, you are just saying that because you do not personally like this thing you claim is a stumbling block to you.” It is sad that some of these very same people will say concerning that brother’s trouble with his activity, “You aren’t my judge.” Now look at who is judging whom!
There are some people who may pay lip service to the problem of being a stumbling block by saying, “I am sorry it causes you to fall, but since God hasn’t ruled against it, I’m going to go ahead and do it.” Herein is the manifestation of hypocrisy. If they really were sorry, they would be like Paul, and not do that thing, whatever the thing is. They would not do it for as long as the world stands. Genuine sorrow leads to the action the claimed sorrow implies.
Finally, there are those who will say: “Okay, you have a problem with it, I won’t do it anymore, but I’ll always resent it.” With an attitude like that, it would not be any worse off for their own soul’s sake to keep on doing the thing. Surely no one would think when Paul made his statement about no longer eating flesh, he was saying under his breath, “but I’m not going to be happy about it.”
In so many ways people today expose themselves as being selfish, about not caring that their actions may cause someone else to sin. Unless a thing is something that the Bible explicitly or implicitly teaches is sin, there is liberty to do it unless it causes someone else to stumble. We must do what God has commanded us to do. We must not do what God has commanded us not to do. And, we must not do that about which God has not ruled at all if it causes someone else to fall.