"But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak." (1 Corinthians 8:9)
As Christians, we should not only be concerned about the lost, but also about each other. Because it’s so easy to be discouraged, it helps to have someone who knows what we’re going through (namely, other Christians) to cheer us on in Christ.
Some may find this to be unimportant, but when saints of God begin to feel discouraged, it affects everything – their personal and professional lives, their overall disposition and appearance, their interaction with others, their spirituality, and much more. When this happens, they tend to become less involved in the things of God.
Probably if we were to be honest, at one time or another, we’ve been both a stepping stone AND a stumbling block to others. This is one reason we should take care with the words we speak. Like the Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 8:12-13, referring back to touching things offered unto idols, "But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend."
If you read all of Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 8, you will see that even when something isn’t technically wrong, such as eating meat that had been offered as a sacrifice to idols, it becomes wrong when it’s done without considering how it might affect those who are weaker. For more of a modern example, it would be similar to seeing your pastor walk into a liquor store. Technically speaking, it wouldn’t be wrong for him to do so, especially if he was there to merely buy a bottle of wine for The Lord’s Supper, but because it could send a weaker Christian down a very misunderstood path, it might be better for someone else to make the purchase.
In three of the gospels (Matthew 18:6, Mark 9:42, Luke 17:2), The Lord said, quoting from Matthew, "But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea."
Obviously, He didn’t mean it would be better for any of His own people to be drowned, but His words here do show how important it is not to offend other believers or cause them to stumble.
We never know when something we say or do could wound another person’s faith, so we should pray, for each of us, that by God’s grace we would long to be more of a stepping stone for our brothers and sisters in Christ – and not a stumbling block.
"Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way." (Romans 14:13)