The Regulation of Moses contains the following legislation: “You shall not curse a deaf man, nor place a bible stumbling block block before the blind, however you shall revere your God; I am the LORD” (Leviticus 19:14, NASB). This refers to a slightly obvious act of cruelty in placing something within the path of a blind individual that he/she cannot see to avoid. Here we’ve got a metaphor that’s referred to in several places in the New Testament. Jesus referred to it in Matthew 18:5–6, when He said, “And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; but whoever causes one in all these little ones who imagine in Me to stumble, it will be higher for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned within the depth of the sea” (NASB). James uses the identical metaphor in James three:2, when he writes, “For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his complete body.”
Perhaps one of the crucial intensive uses of the metaphor within the New Testament is by Paul in Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8. In 1 Corinthians eight:9, Paul wrote, “However take care that this right of yours doesn’t in some way develop into a stumbling block to the weak.” He explains the metaphor in Romans 14. Here he’s writing about variations in ranges of maturity amongst Christians. As we mature in our Christian stroll, we discover that there are things that had been previously mistaken for us to try this we gain the freedom to do. Earlier in our walk, these things interfered with our relationship with Christ and so were fallacious to do. As we mature, they now not cause our relationshipship with Christ to suffer and subsequently are not flawed for us to do. The particular example Paul referred to was consuming meat that had been consecrated to idols. To young, immature Christians, consuming meat that they knew had been consecrated to idols was collaborating in idol worship. To a mature Christian, it was just eating meals and had no impact on the Christian walk. If a mature Christian, to whom eating this meat was not flawed, inspired an immature Christian, to whom eating the meat was mistaken, to eat anyway, the mature Christian would be putting a stumbling block in the immature Christian’s path—encouraging him/her to do something that would negatively impact his/her relationship with Christ. Instead of being a stumbling block to another, we must always show love. As Paul said in 1 Corinthians eight:13, “Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will by no means eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.” This is not to say that we should always cater to the least mature of the brethren, but quite than encourage them to do what they consider sin, we should always help them mature so they acknowledge it for what it’s—something with no religious consequences.
This doesn’t apply to anything that the Scripture specifically states is sin. For instance, Christian maturity never gives us the liberty to hate others. But when there’s ambiguity within the Scripture about whether or not something is correct or unsuitable, comparable to in playing cards with a standard poker deck (which some see as improper because of the origins of the symbols on the cards), not changing into a stumbling block to a fellow Christian is an issue. We should be very careful not to cause one other’s relationship with Christ to suffer.