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September 27, 2015

A very self-important college freshman attending a recent football game took it upon himself to explain to a senior citizen sitting next to him why it was impossible for the older generation to understand his generation.

"You grew up in a different world, actually an almost primitive one," the student said, loud enough for many of those nearby to hear. "The young people of today grew up with television, jet planes, space travel, man walking on the moon, our spaceships have visited Mars. We have nuclear energy, electric and hydrogen cars, computers, mobile phone with light-speed processing.... and," paused to take another drink of beer.

The senior took advantage of the break in the student's litany and said, "You're right, son. We didn't have those things when we were young, so we invented them. Now, you arrogant little fart, what are you doing for the next generation?"
Don't you just love senior citizens!

But…another day a senior told me that he was afraid that he had become a scandal to the younger generation especially to his family.  I said, “It’s not only you. The way we live daily affects the lives of those around us for better or for worse.  We can be a scandal or a steppingstone to others.”  Here are some examples:

I am a scandal to you when I am unkind or unjust in the way I treat you.  I am a scandal to you when I fail to understand your weakness, faults, mistakes and sins.  I am a scandal to you when I humiliate you because you do not live up to my expectation.  I am a scandal to you when I discourage you, keep you down or hold you back.  I am a scandal to you when I refuse to accept you, when I exclude you or just ignore you. I am a scandal to you when I load you with unjust criticism and sour you with my own cynicism.  I tear down your ideals, destroy your dreams and act as a blight on your hopes.  I am a scandal to you when I exploit you by paying you poor wages.  I make you into a slave so that I can live like a lord.

If I do any of these things to you I am a darkness to you; I am an obstacle on your path.  In a word that sums it all up—I am a SCANDAL to you in the road to self-development and I make it difficult for you to reach the Kingdom of God.  In another way you can be a steppingstone to me, an example, a help on the road to salvation.  

You are a steppingstone to me when you support me in moments of weakness and doubt; when you give me a belief in myself; when you boost my self-confidence; when you challenge me, make demands on me not to hurt me but to help me grow; when you accept me while others reject me; when you refuse to join the mob and throw the stone of accusation and judgment at me when I sin; when you forgive me, understand me and listen to me.

Jesus said, “If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea.” What would Christ say of today’s abortionists who terminate the lives of the little ones even before they see the light of day?  Or of today’s drug pushers who wreck the lives of the young?  Or of those who corrupt the young, pouring slops over their souls?  Or of the parents who give a real bad example to their children by all kinds of spiritual sicknesses and by ignoring God and pushing God out of their lives?  If you see a young tree vandalized you would be angry because of what that tree could have become.   Christ sees a marvellous potential in every child and in every person.  He does not want to see that potential ruined.

Christians must at all times be aware that the way we live can affect others.  Today we live closer to each other than ever before.  We depend on each other.  We influence each other much more than we think.  Whether we like it or not we are a stumbling block on our neighbours’ path or we are a steppingstone to our brothers and sisters on the road to salvation.  May God help us to walk together toward eternal happiness Christ has prepared for us!