Are Your Words Causing Others to Stumble?
by Lynette Kittle
“Jesus turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.’” --Matthew 16:23
If you were Peter, how would you feel to have Jesus turn to you and say what He said to him in Matthew 16:23?
If one of the twelve Apostles could be a mouthpiece for Satan, does it cause you to consider the possibility of the evil one trying to speak to others through your words, too?
But maybe you wouldn’t have been so bold as to take Jesus aside and rebuke him for speaking of His upcoming death and resurrection saying, “Never, Lord! This shall never happen to you!” (Matthew 16:22)
Of course, Jesus was really addressing Satan, who was behind Peter’s words, but still. The realization of who was influencing what was coming out of his mouth must have been hard for Peter to swallow.
Like Peter, it’s so easy to believe an idea or thought is your own, not realizing how the enemy of your soul works to influence others through what you say. Like most Christians, it’s easy to be naïve of how Satan may be attempting to discourage God’s will in another individual’s life or trip them up in some way through your mouth.
Yet Peter’s example illustrates how it can happen to even those who have a personal, close relationship with Jesus.
Most may think it’s so obvious to spot Satan’s plots, but Scripture describes how the evil one disguises himself stating, “And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14).
Like Peter’s words could come across as just a concerned friend trying to calm Jesus down from talking about a coming death and resurrection, you may believe you’re just being helpful in advising friends. Yet in reality, you may be oblivious of how the enemy is at work through your conversation to motivate someone to stumble away from God’s will.
In trying to help guide a family member, friend, or co-worker away from something you think is off track in their lives, having the best of intentions in trying to encourage them in the right direction, you could unknowingly be pointing them towards man’s will rather than God’s will.
Scripture cautions you to, “Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister” (Romans 14:13).
So how do you keep from being a stumbling block through your words? 1 John 2:10 states, “Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble.”
A key to prevent yourself from becoming a stumbling block is to stay in the light of Christ by staying in prayer and obeying His Word.
As you do, 2 Thessalonians 3:3 states the Lord is faithful and will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.
Lynette Kittle is married with four daughters. She enjoys writing about faith, marriage, parenting, relationships, and life. Her writing has been published by Focus on the Family, Decision, Today’s Christian Woman, iBelieve.com, kirkcameron.com, Ungrind.org, and more. She has a M.A. in Communication from Regent University and serves as associate producer for Soul Check TV.
Do you love podcasts? In The Bible Never Said That, we unpack some of the most popular "spiritual statements" that have made their way into popular culture and the church, even though they are not theologically sound. Together, we'll hold them up to the Bible to see what God's Word really has to say to us.