“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come! If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.” ~ Matthew 18:6-9
One of the things I did to make my house seem more mine after my husband died was paint my room. Being in a room that he had spent so much time with me picking everything out just made me sad. So I decided to paint and fill it with “just me” things.
My mom thought it was a great idea, when I called her and told her I was going to paint. She immediately asked what color, since I was so delighted about the project. My cheerful reply? Grey!
She was a bit perplexed how painting my room grey was going to cheer me up, but once the project was done, she appreciated how the room went together.
I painted three walls, each a different shade of grey. One wall is white, the next wall a light shade of grey, the next slightly darker, with the fourth the darkest grey of all. When you look at the lightest grey wall and compare it to the darkest, the difference is significant. But if you look at the corners where each wall meets, the difference is almost imperceptible.
The lesson my grey walls teach me is that we have to be careful in thinking of sin as being “shades of grey.” Too often we think that something isn’t so bad, when we compare it to something worse. And that form of thinking allows us to head down a path that we should never have set foot on. But the real issue lies with what we are comparing the sin to in the first place. So often it’s to something truly terrible, when what we should be comparing it to is the right thing. The greys in my walls move from one shade to the next, but compare any wall to the white wall, and there is clearly a huge difference.
We need to look at our attitude toward sin through the lens of these verses in Matthew. Rather than slipping down the slope into something really awful, we must make sure we stick to the straight and narrow, so that we can always be a good witness to others. Don’t let the shades of grey in life trap you into being a bad example for anyone.