More than enough times in my life I've felt that my parents (and even my relatives) have been a stumbling block for growing in the faith due to their hypocritical actions. And so during those times I would wonder to myself, "Is it wrong that I tend to have these thoughts about my family--that they serve as negative examples to the newer generations? It's no wonder my sister is an atheist and that my cousins are downright confused. When parents act so contrary and never admit to it, it's no wonder that other so-called 'Christian' families have children who don't follow the faith."
Sadly there are days when I do feel like the only sensible Christian in the household who has nowhere else to turn to but to God whenever these things happen. After all, Jesus is the very best example to follow. So I give the Lord my thoughts. And I don't ever hold back from Him.
Honestly, there are several reasons why I am choosing to not have children of my own, and a few of those reasons have to do with my family and their injustices that they refuse to acknowledge. And the hardest part in dealing with it is trying not to blame your family for the things that are wrong with you while forgetting your own accountability. But the much trickier thing that I deal with is a matter of the conscience; whether acknowledging the wrongs of my family and feeling the way I do about them when they habitually do the wrong that they do, is...well...wrong itself or not.
Yet, what if they really are at fault? Is it your place to acknowledge this sad thing or do you act like it isn't true and just stay quiet about it? Even the bible has its share of accounts of "messed-up" families and children being led astray due to the sins of the parents. Sadly, sometimes it really can be true that outside forces have an impact on others and can lead them astray, even if it is still a person's own choice to make.
Even Jesus takes how we impact the lives of others very seriously.
"...but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea." (Matthew 18:6)
It will never excuse us from forgiving them, of course. After all, you and I are just as capable of doing the same injustice to someone else, even unknowingly and unintentionally. I've wondered myself many times if I have ever been guilty of being a stumbling block to other people in regards to their faith. I probably have been in some way many times without even knowing it. Then again, I also have a tendency to feel guilt at the very thought of hurting someone's feelings whether it could be helped or not. But it's also that ability to acknowledge our own capability to do wrong that prevents bitterness from taking root.
I know that I don't want to make the same mistakes as my family or think the way they do. Though it is very well true that my family can be a stumbling block to me at times--whether they know it or not--I do know for sure that I most definitely would rather make sure that I don't become a stumbling block to others. If there's one thing I can seek to improve, it's myself. I much rather analyze myself, make sure my heart is in the right place, and seek where I myself would be in need of improvement.
"May those who wait for You not be ashamed through me, O Lord God of hosts; May those who seek You not be dishonored through me, O God of Israel." (Psalm 69:6)
"Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting." (Psalm 139:23-24)
Recently I did a bit more research on it and found a few good articles. I didn't have to feel alone on the subject after all:
And once again I am taken to a point where something negative is made into a positive. Here I find myself yet again with another reason to thank the Lord and praise Him!
God bless and thanks for reading!
~ Jazzy C. Oaks [12-01-2013]