Someone stole my bicycle. It was a nice bicycle and I enjoyed it very much. But I didn’t always lock it up and someone saw it sitting there and took it.
Certainly it was a sin to take the bicycle that didn’t belong to them. But, did I sin by not locking it up? I don’t think I did, but I didn’t protect my neighbor from sinning.
All of this makes me look at the whole cycle of temptation and sin.
Once when I was driving over the road, a woman came up to my truck and asked if I wanted to party. This poor woman was about as physically unattractive as I could ever imagine. Yet the only thing she could offer in exchange for money or food was sexual stimulation. I pitied her but didn’t have anything I could give, I thought. She was trapped in a lifestyle of sin that would destroy her, if someone didn’t rescue her. The question I have is. How did she get there?
How do any of us get there? Somehow I think the answer to Cain’s question is, “Yes.” As far as is possible we are each one responsible for our brothers and sisters.
Circumstances affect how we each think. We each have weaknesses that are beyond our control. Alcohol is a very plain example. Some people can have a drink of wine or a beer or two and leave it at that. Another person dare not even go where there will be access to alcohol.
In this case the scope of responsibility is made broader.
It is so pleasant to write or speak about areas where I feel I have had some success, but when it comes to areas where I have little or no success, I become very uncomfortable. This is one of those areas.
And I wonder how willing I am to get success here.
In 1 Corinthians 8 Paul talks about meat offered to idols to illustrate how we need to be careful for our brother. I understand this to mean that I am not responsible for my brother’s weakness or for the sin that he chooses. But I am responsible for myself, and if my liberty causes him to stumble then I do have a responsibility.
Jesus says, “You are the light of the world.” If my light causes another person to stumble, I need to do something about my light. I didn’t want my bike to be stolen. Using the lock and cable that I had would have made that plain. Someone may have stolen it anyway, but then my message would have been clear. “Don’t take my bike.”
Salvation is a process. I am learning faithfulness in areas I never thought of before. Making my things secure so my brother won’t be tempted to stumble is an area I believe my father wants me to learn more faithfulness.
Consider your life. Is there an area where you need to be careful to protect your brother from stumbling?