Wow! There goes the "hug-me-Jesus" idea right out the window again! But I guess when it comes to sin Jesus gets pretty serious. Sin is a terrible thing. It has the power to destroy a soul for eternity. Here Jesus says that it is better that one should suffer that fate than two. It is better that the one who leads others into sin should die than for them to live and bring others down with them. The "millstone" of sin will drag to the bottom anyone who hangs onto it!
I think we have been conditioned to think of this passage as speaking of leading children into sin because Jesus uses the term "little ones." However, it is a serious offense at any age. I am just as capable of leading my family and friends into sin as I am of leading my children. In fact, I am probably more likely to lead the adults in my life to sin than I am to lead my children. I am around adults more than my children and I may say or do things in the presence of adults that I may not do in the presence of my children.
Lest we start a millstone factory and ringing everyone's necks with them, Jesus balances this serious warning with the call to forgiveness. If we are scandalized, or "sinned against" we have the duty to lovingly rebuke our brother in the Lord. If this correction is done in love and is effective we have saved our souls and the soul of our brother(cf. James 5:19-20). He even takes it a step further and tells us that even if it happens over and over, we must forgive. This isn't too hard when I think of my "repeated" sins and the times when God has forgiven me again and again.
Increase our faith! What an awesome prayer! I should seek to pray this prayer every day!!.
“Lord, if your people still have need of my services, I will not avoid the toil. Your will be done. I have fought the good fight long enough. Yet if you bid me continue to hold the battle line in defense of your camp, I will never beg to be excused from failing strength. I will do the work you entrust to me. While you command, I will fight beneath your banner.” (St. Martin of Tours, Bishop and Confessor, Patron Saint of Soldiers)
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