I thought fear was anathema to the Christian. In a sense it is, however, in another sense of the word there is something that we all must fear, the fear of losing eternal life! This is a very real possibility as god has given us the gift of freewill. We can use this gift to choose to follow Him or we can use it to rebel against Him. In this sense, the gift of freewill is one of, if not the greatest sign of God’s love for us. He loves us so much that He wants our love for Him to be our choice, even at the risk of losing us altogether!

In today’s Gospel, Jesus talks about it being better for a person to be thrown into the sea with a millstone around his/her neck than for a person to lead astray one of the little ones of God. This is what we must fear: being guilty of leading others away from the gift of salvation. If a person wants to rebel against God then let that be his/her choice, but woe to them if they try to induce others to follow them in their folly!

I remember as a mischievous kid in school I thought that there would be safety in numbers. That is, I thought that if I could drag a few of my friends with me on some of my pranks that I would be safer than if I went about them on my own. I learnt a big lesson one day after having been caught by one of the teachers. The teacher very astutely discerned that I was the ringleader and proceeded to punish me, not just for the prank, but for leading others astray as well! That punishment taught me a lesson. No, unfortunately it did not cure me completely of my desire to perform pranks, but it did convince me that it was not a good idea to convince others to join me in them. If they wanted to join me of their own accord, then so be it.

The mercy of God knows no bounds, but it will be less available to us if we willing lead others into sin. We must be careful that we always respect the innocence and good nature of others and never take advantage of another’s weakness in order to lead them astray. God will not look kindly upon such actions. In fact the penalty for them is not worth contemplating.

Have I ever been guilty of leading others astray? If so, have a repented sincerely from my heart?

Lord Jesus, you gave us the perfect law of how we are to treat one another. We are to love each other in the same way that you have loved us! Help me to put this dictum into action in my life. Help me to be the example of Christian righteousness that I should be.