Have you had the right intention, but others saw it as bad or offensive?
“But judge this rather, that no man put any stumbling block or an occasion to fall in your brother’s way”. Romans 14:13
Most African families kept a large clay water jar outside the door of their house. So water was accessible for drinking, cooking or bathing.
When I first arrived in the village I filled my giant water jar and set it outside the door. I took an empty calabash, which most people used and flipped it over a brick so people could take it to get a drink of water.
A Christian woman stopped by my house. “Sister, you have done a very bad thing.”
“What did I do?”
“An upside down gourd on a brick is a local sign. It means you are selling homemade millet beer from your house. It is forbidden for someone in our church to sell or drink beer.”
“I didn’t know this.” I went to the kitchen and returned with a red plastic cup. “Can I leave this outside so strangers can take a drink?”
She nodded. “That is good, or you can leave the calabash inside the water jar with the lid on it like we do.”
Sometimes we can upset another person, and not even know we are doing it. Or we can offend others, so that it causes a bad witness for Christ or the church.
It may seem silly that a half of a gourd turned upside down and placed over a brick could be so disgusting to the local Christians, but in their culture it was a stumbling block, and so I made it right.
My intention was to be a stepping stone and offer a drink to strangers and guests.
Sometimes the little acts we do like sitting in a wrong place in church (as if there is one) or sending a birthday card (the person wanted a phone call) or not attending a family gathering may be stumbling blocks and offend others. We intended them to be stepping stones to help people. If someone comes along and points out an offense, try to make it right. The Bible warns us to avoid offending others.
Thanks for joining me this week.