“all things work together”
I had a Reese’s Cup Moment today, so I thought I’d share with you…
But first, allow me to answer the unspoken question, “What the heck is a Reese’s Cup Moment?” Fair enough. Do you remember those old Reese’s Cup commercials, where one person had a chocolate bar in their hand, and one person had a jar of peanut butter (’cause who doesn’t walk around with an open jar of peanut butter for a snack?) And the two people would both come around a corner too fast, bumping into each other, and the chocolate would end up in the peanut butter and hey presto!
Well I started off in Romans today, went down a rabbit trail in my dictionary, and ended up in Matthew. Good stuff! I love it when the Bible comes together in unexpected places!
The verse in Romans was 14:13 ~ “Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.” My Bible study lesson instructed us to compare the words “hindrance,” “obstacle,” and “stumbling block”, etc. and there are few things I love more than studying words.
Anyhow, what I found interesting was the word “hindrance,” which means something that delays or holds back, especially something about to start; thwarting progress. So there are obvious connections to faith there, which is exactly what Paul was talking about in verse 13: that our actions, even though they are not sinful, can confuse or weaken the faith of someone “younger,” “newer,” or less mature in their faith.
My next step, after learning the definition of hindrance, was to look the word up in Greek, to see if the word used in the original translation of the Bible would tell me anything else. Here, I found that the word is skandalon, which is defined as a trap, a snare, or an impediment placed in someone’s way, causing them to stumble. Nothing too noteworthy there, except the realization that it’s where we get our word “scandal” which is fun to know.
But then I looked for other uses of that word skandalon. This can be interesting because often, in other uses of the Greek word, it’s a different English word. So you don’t realize those two unrelated verses have that in common. That’s what happened here. And the place I found it used was Matthew 16:23. You may not know that address offhand, but you know the line. It’s when Jesus said to Peter, “Get thee behind Me, satan; you are an offense unto Me.” That word “offense”? Skandalon.
Amazing. And fascinating in two different ways: first, Jesus said that to Peter after He had said that it was time for Him to go to Jerusalem, where He would suffer and die. Peter responded, “Far be it, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” What Peter was doing in that conversation was in danger of causing Jesus to stumble. Which, of course, He never would have, but that’s how serious Peter’s comment was. Jesus didn’t just call him a stumbling block, he called him satan. Ouch. That’s what it is when we are a hindrance to those around us.
Paul spends a great many words in chapter 14 talking about the “non-essential” aspects of our life and walk with Jesus, and while it’s good to be reminded how little the little things matter, it’s more important to know that causing someone to stumble is what the devil does. Which I think you’ll agree, is more than just a little scandalous.
Fun and informative tangent, yes? Okay, now back to my Bible study.