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Click here to read 2 Corinthians 6 on BibleGateway.com

modest and fashionnnWe put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. – 2 Corinthians 6:3

History is full of unintended consequences, sometimes in a way almost humorous.  For example, during the Age of Discovery (when European countries were “discovering” the Americas), the Spanish explorers found some rather profitable silver mines in central and south America (not to mention some that they took from others, but that’s another story).  Finding all that money is good thing, right?  Actually, so much silver came back to Spain that inflation destroyed the Spanish economy.  Sometimes our good intentions do more harm than good.

The Pharisees are a great example of this.  If you don’t know who the Pharisees are, getting your learnin’ pants on, cause we’re about to have the short and sweet history of the Pharisees.

Back in 500 BC, the Jewish people were just coming back to Jerusalem after an extended vacation in Babylon/Persia (also called the Exile).  A group of concerned citizens were talking one day, and decided that since being forced from their homes for almost a century was arguably a bad thing, that they must do what they could to keep it from happening again.  Their conclusion? They had failed to keep God’s commands; God had punished them; therefore we must keep God’s commands to prevent being punished; also, we must make sure everyone else keeps God’s commands.

Over time, the Pharisees (good intentioned leaders that they were) decided that the further one could get away from sin, the better.  Therefore, rather than just tell people “don’t work on the Sabbath,” they tried to define exactly what “work” meant.  Which means they had to clarify, then clarify again, then organize, and then rank, and finally ended up with 39 different categories of “clarification,” with thousands of individual laws regarding what one could do on the Sabbath, such as how many steps one could walk, what dishes one could wash, and how much laundry one could fold.


Now we might laugh at that, but don’t we do the same thing?  We come up with our rules like “Real” Christians would never watch that…someone who loves Jesus would never go there…a true believer would never be friends with them…a holy man would never drink that.  Is it holiness?  Perhaps.  But isn’t that what the Pharisees were doing?  Trying to keep people holy?  Trying to make sure that there was “no hint of ungodliness”?

Can you look at yourself in the mirror today and say that you have not put a stumbling block in front of people?  Perhaps you meant well; you wanted to keep them from the very appearance of evil.  But nonetheless, you put a burden on them that God didn’t.  You created a requirement for them that made coming to Jesus just a little bit harder; made the climb up to Calvary a little steeper than necessary?

Or perhaps you didn’t do that to someone else; perhaps you did it to yourself?  Did you say to yourself “God can’t love me – I looked at that again.” “I can’t go back to church…everyone’s going to know that I went there again, even though I publicly confessed I was free.”  “I can’t teach that Sunday School class – not when I keep going back to that addiction.”


Do you really think that Jesus didn’t know you were going to struggle?  Did Jesus know that Peter was going to deny him, not to mention all the times that he was simply a moron in the three years he followed Jesus around?  Did Jesus know that almost all of the disciples would desert him?  Did that stop him from teaching them?  Did it stop them from doing great things for God?  Did it keep others from hearing Christ’s message, from being healed, from seeing God’s wonders?

Don’t allow the rules that you (or we) create keep you from Jesus.  Come as you are; screw up; come back.  Don’t add rules to stop yourself from messing up – just get to know Jesus better.  Walk closer.  Pray more.  Listen to the Word.  That’s all.  Let’s not forget that Jesus said all of the rules could be summed up in two sentences – Love God; Love others.

If this alone is done, it is enough.

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