Do This, Not That!


Back in my bratty, ornery junior high days, some of my friends and I would walk behind fellow students in the hallway and gently kick their foot so that it would clip their leg and cause them to trip or stumble. If you did it just right, they would never know you kicked them; they would just think they tripped over themselves. The truth is that life has enough stumbling blocks that daily get in our way; we don’t need someone else becoming an obstacle while we walk.

  • Take a moment to consider some of your key relationships. Are you a help or a hindrance to their growth in their walks with the Lord?


17:1 And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin. Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. “Temptations” is also translated “stumbling blocks” in verse 1. How might we inadvertently cause other people to stumble?
  2. Who else could Jesus have been referring to as “these little ones” in verse 2?
  3. To what is “rebuke” tied in verse 3? What, then, is the ultimate goal of rebuking?
  4. In verse 3, what did Jesus say before he told them to rebuke the one in sin? How should this affect our attitude as we consider correcting someone else?


Jesus calls us to pay attention to ourselvesso that we will not be a hindrance to the walks of others, and so that we will be an influence of truth and forgiveness. These four verses point us back to the very character of God, in that he doesn’t allow us to walk in our sin very long without correcting us, but he also extends to us his gracious hand of forgiveness and love. Once again, Jesus invites us into the journey of becoming more like him each day!

  • Ask God to reveal the subtle ways in which you may be a stumbling block to your spouse, your kids, your co-workers, and those around you who are not Christ-followers.
  • Take a moment to thank God for his example of forgiveness in your life.