I had a meeting in Midrand today at 1pm. I gave myself adequate time to get there via the N1. Once past the Brakfontein intersection, an ambulance overtook me with lights flashing, traveling at a high speed. After a few kilometers the highway slowed down considerably … to a crawl. By the time I past the Ultra City Petrol Station I noticed a massive pile up on the North bound side. It’s difficult to say what happened as I could not see too well, but to me it looked like cars came off a car transporter and at least one fell onto (or into) another vehicle. This assessment might be wrong, but that is what it looked like.
The backup was easily 2 to 3 kilometers. I could picture how many people were angry and frustrated having to wait until the road could be cleared before they could move onwards to their destination. Then there was that ambulance who over took me. It needed to drive to the next intersection, go over the N1 and turn back towards Pretoria and negotiate a few kilometers of backed up lanes of traffic as they tried to reach the injured people.
Crashes happen every day. Normally someone is to blame and the consequences are damage to vehicles, injuries to people, backed up traffic, people late for work or appointments, etc. I suppose it’s strange to talk about crashes when you yourself travel often on the roads and highways. Anyone could make a mistake leading to an accident. Someone else could cause an accident and you, the innocent driver gets could up in their error or their willful reckless driving. Just think of it, taking your vehicle out of the garage onto the road is a potential accident about to happen. Now I don’t want to be negative, but the reality is and statistics show how often the innocent could be caught in some misfortune on the roads today. Others could cause you to be involved in their crash!
When Israel crossed the Jordan River, two tribes wanted to remain on the Transjordan side. They were the Reubenites and Gadites. Moses permitted this on one condition … that the men of these tribes assist the rest of Israel to conquer the Promised Land. Once done they could return to the Transjordan side. But coupled to this condition is a serious warning.
Nu 32:23 “But if you fail to do this, you will be sinning against the LORD, and you may be sure that your sin will find you out.”
Sin does catch one out … always … and one of the ways it does is that our sin could easily influence and affects others. Many will say that my sin cannot influence you to sin. That sounds like a pretty convincing argument, but it is wrong. Just like my bad driving could cause you to have an accident or be involved in my crash, so my sin could influence you to sin and rebel against God! Let me give your three examples of this.
First, in Mark 9:42-50 Jesus is teaching His disciples about being radical in dealing with sin. He says:
Mk 9:42 “And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck.”
The “little ones” here might be the children He spoke of in verses 36-37 or it could refer to young (new, immature) believers. Jesus makes the point that they could be influenced (causes) to sin. This could be through coercion, force or enticement. Jesus implies that the rewards for such wickedness will be like been “thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his (your) neck.” Jesus goes on to say that spiritual surgery of amputation is required to rid oneself of sin that could influence others. Remove the hand, foot or eye … cut off the deed, place and what you see. Be serious and radical to prevent influencing the younger believer to sin.
Second, look at another passage:
Rom 14:14 As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. 15 If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died. 16 Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men. 19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.
This passage is dealing with what a believer may eat or not eat based upon Jewish Law. In verse 14 Paul is clear that all food is clean but there is the weaker brother who might feel certain foods are holiness and are sinful to eat. So Paul raises the loving, gracious attitude and response of avoiding or not influencing others to sin in their hearts by not eating, drinking or doing things that might be offensive to them. That is, avoid these things in their presence to prevent them from sinning.
Third, don’t associate with sinful (wicked / evil) people. They will influence you to sin.
1 Cor 15:33 Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.
That is the teaching of Psalm 1:1. Just as you might influence others, so others might influence you. Stay away from ‘bad company’.
Just as my bad driving could influence a crash, so my sin could influence others to sin and their sin could influence me to sin too.
Ro 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men. 19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.
Maybe these verses ought to shape our prayer life leading towards a Christ centered approach to avoiding sin!
Dear God, where I have influenced others to sin please forgive me. Help me to set a godly example to all. Amen.