For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;
~ 1 Corinthians 8:10
Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man’s conscience?
~ 1 Corinthians 10:29
For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
~ Galatians 5:13
Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:
~ 1 Corinthians 10:32
Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumblingblock before the blind, but shalt fear thy God: I am the LORD.
~ Leviticus 19:14
Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way. I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.
~ Romans 14:13-15
Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
~ Matthew 26:41
Stumbling Ourselves, by Jonathan Edwards. The following contains an excerpt from his work, “Joseph’s Great Temptation and Gracious Deliverance”.
But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.
—1 Corinthians 8:9
Seeing we are to pray [that] we may not be led into temptation, certainly we ought not to run ourselves into it. This is one request that Christ directs us to make to God in that form of prayer, which He taught His disciples: “Lead us not into temptation” (Mat 6:13). And how inconsistent shall we be with ourselves if we pray to God that we should not be led into temptation, and at the same time, we are not careful to avoid temptation—but bring ourselves into it by doing those things that lead and expose to sin. What self-contradiction is it for a man to pray to God that he may be kept from that which he takes no care to avoid! By praying that we may be kept from temptation, we profess to God that being in temptation is a thing to be avoided; but by running into it we show that we choose the contrary, viz., not to avoid it.
The apostle directs us to avoid those things that are in themselves lawful but tend to lead others into sin. Surely, then, we should avoid what tends to lead ourselves into sin. The apostle directs, “Take heed lest…this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak” (1Co 8:9); “That no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way” (Rom 14:13). “But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat” (Rom 14:15). “For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offense. It is good neither to eat flesh nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak” (Rom 14:20-21). Now if this rule of the apostle be agreeable to the word of Christ, as we must suppose (or expunge what he says out of the canon of the Scripture), then a like rule obliges more strongly in those things that tend to lead ourselves into sin.
There are many precepts of Scripture which directly and positively imply that we ought to avoid those things that tend to sin.
This very thing is commanded by Christ, where He directs us to watch lest we “enter into temptation” (Mat 26:41). But, certainly, running ourselves into temptation is the reverse of watching against it. We are commanded to “abstain from all appearance of evil” (1Th 5:22), i.e., do by sin as a man does by a thing, the sight or appearance of which he hates and therefore will avoid anything that looks like it and will not come near or in sight of it.
Again, Christ commanded to separate from us those things that are stumbling blocks or occasions of sin, however dear they are to us. “If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee” (Mat 5:29). “And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off” (Mat 5:30). By the right hand offending us is not meant its paining us; but the word in the original signifies being a stumbling block: if thy right hand proves to be a stumbling block or occasion to fall, i.e., an occasion to sin. Those things are called offenses or stumbling blocks in the New Testament, which are the occasions of falling into sin. Yea, Christ tells us that we must avoid them, however dear they are to us, though as dear as our right hand or right eye. If there be any practice that naturally tends and exposes us to sin, we must be done with it, though we love it never so well and are never so loth to part with it, though it be as contrary to our inclination as to cut off our own right hand or pluck out our own right eye, and that upon pain of damnation. For it is intimated that if we do not, we must go with two hands and two eyes into hell fire.
Without Christ crucified in her pulpits, a church is little better than a cumberer [obstruction] of the ground, a dead carcass, a well without water, a barren fig tree, a sleeping watchman, a silent trumpet, a dumb witness, an ambassador without terms of peace, a messenger without tidings, a lighthouse without fire, a stumbling block to weak believers, a comfort to infidels, a hotbed for formalism, a joy to the devil, and an offense to God.—J. C. Ryle
The very heaviest conceivable doom [is] better than to be a stumbling block in the way of the very least of God’s people. Yet I have known some say, “Well, the thing is lawful; and if a weak brother does not like it, I cannot help it. He should not be weak.” No, my dear brother; but that is not the way Christ would have you talk. You must consider the weakness of your brother…If meat make your brother to offend, eat no meat while the world standeth.—Charles H. Spurgeon