Jesus said to his disciples,
“Things that cause sin will inevitably occur,
but woe to the one through whom they occur.
It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck
and he be thrown into the sea
than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.
Be on your guard!
If your brother sins, rebuke him;
and if he repents, forgive him.
And if he wrongs you seven times in one day
and returns to you seven times saying, “I am sorry,”
you should forgive him.”
And the Apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”
The Lord replied, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed,
you would say to this mulberry tree,
‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”
Jesus is realistic at the beginning of this passage: “Things that cause sin will inevitably occur…” We all have experienced that – we are all sinners. We all have weaknesses in our lives that make us more susceptible to sin. That is real life. None of us are perfect. We have sinned and most likely will sin again very soon.
Yet, Jesus cautions us that we better not be the cause for sin for “one of these little ones”. This should send shivers down our spine because Jesus says, “It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.” Wow, these are challenging words. “Be on your guard!”
Sometimes in our selfishness we cause others to sin. We do not always notice these sins because we are so focused on our own needs. For example, two people may be dating and one person entices the other into sexual sin. The aggressor may be so focused on his/her own needs without any thought to how this might affect the other. The Church always addresses sexual sin seriously because it cuts to the core of our being.
Have I caused someone else to sin out of my own selfishness?
What needs to change in my heart that is going to lead me to wholeness and holiness?
Do I need to ask forgiveness from anyone that I have led to sin?
Jesus tells us that if someone sins against us, we need to forgive them. Three questions that have helped me forgive are:
1) Lord, help me to see this person like you see him/her.
2) Lord, help me to forgive this person like you have forgiven him/her.
3) Lord, help me to love this person like you love him/her.
The Lord is quick to forgive us our sins if we seek His mercy. May we be quick to forgive others.