Brother Winkler told the story of a blind man walking the streets at night with a lantern. Townsfolk observed him an wondered why a blind man could possibly need a lantern. When asked about this curious sight, the blind man responded, “It is to keep others from stumbling over me.”
As a Christian, and especially as a preacher of the Gospel, we must endeavor to never allow ourselves to become a stumbling block over which another brother or sister might fall. Paul was fully convinced that no meat was unclean in and of itself (Romans 14:14). Others were convinced that certain things were not to be eaten. Paul made it clear that meat became “unclean” for the one so disposed. He then continued, “But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died” (Romans 14:15). He went on to say, “For meat destroy not the work of God…” (v. 20). Even in a different context, Paul held on to the same principle, “Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend. (1 Corinthians 8:13).
Are we willing to carry a lantern to keep others from stumbling over us? Our carrying a lantern may take the form of not doing certain things. The question is, how far are we willing to go to keep a brother from stumbling over us. Just because we perceive ourselves as having a “right” to do certain things does not mean that it is a good idea. Is our love for our brethren strong enough to cause us to deny ourselves even things that may otherwise be right? It is really something to think about because one of the things I may not do is that which would cause another to go astray.