March 14, 2014

A Stumbling Stone by Pamela Mytroen

Jesus is controversial. If we think that we can avoid offending people with the truth, we are deceiving ourselves. Not that we write to offend, but if our goal is to present Jesus, our readers will ultimately be faced with a very uncomfortable decision. That is the only way to freedom.

Consider a Roman Arch. Amidst ruins from earthquakes, flooding, and erosion, the arches still stand. The key to their stability is the keystone or capstone. The Romans first built a wooden frame to support their arches until they inserted the very last stone. Once they fit the keystone into place at the peak, the builders removed the frame and the arch stood on its own. However, until that rock was lifted to its rightful place, it was merely a rock the builders tripped over on the construction site.

Speaking of the resurrected Christ, Peter says, “Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone, and, a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall’” (1Peter 2:7). 

Until we recognize Jesus as Lord of our lives, we will keep falling and stumbling over Him.    

Jesus speaks of Himself in Luke 20:17 when He says, “Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.” We are offended and bruised when we fall on the Rock of Jesus’ conviction. We don’t like to see ourselves as sinners, but it is this broken spirit that causes us to reach to Jesus for salvation. Better that we are broken to pieces on Jesus then that He crushes us. He doesn’t leave us broken, but gathers us safely under His protective arch of love and forgiveness. 

Our writing will offend our readers as God convicts them of sin through His Holy Spirit, but in the end they will be set free. This is not to suggest that we intend to offend with our words. Rather we should speak the truth in love and allow God to speak to each reader as He sees best.

An arch is perfectly balanced on each side and yet one side is always in the sun while the other is shaded. Whether our words are lighthearted and sunny or a darker shade of grace, we need the balance of each other. We need both sides to lift His name on high.

Let us continue writing as God has called, as we exalt the matchless name of Jesus.  And let us trust Him to do His saving work in the hearts of our readers. 

“He is the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone. Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:11,12).

Pamela Mytroen 


  1. What a beautiful background to the scripture readings about the capstone. I didn't know that, so your blog puts that verse in the sunlight for me.

    This ties in with the verse I used in my blog a few days ago: "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword."

    I don't think we set out to be controversial, but the gospel itself is controversial. Jesus was loving and kind, but we all remember how he chased the moneychangers out of the Temple. Then he was led as a lamb to the slaughter.

  2. Yes, I agree with you, Sharon, that we don't write with the purpose of offending others. Like the example you gave, sometimes in lifting up the name of Jesus we have to take a stand that makes people a little miffed with us!

  3. Pam, I've known those terms for years - capstone, stumbling block, etc. but never had the right context for understanding until I read your arch analogy.

    Thank you for the clarity!

  4. This is such a wonderful metaphor!

  5. Pam,
    Loved how you put this together. Knowing that if the capstone is in place we will stand. Knowing that we should be able to step out in faith and speak the word of Jesus.

  6. As I read your post, the phrase "deep calls to deep" comes to mind (it's from Psalm 42:7. I think our writings contain a spirit that comes across whether we intend it or not. That spirit will connect with some and not with others. I think of the place where Paul talks about our lives giving off a fragrance. To those being saved it is the fragrance of life, but to others, the fragrance of death. (2 Cor. 2:14-16)

  7. What a beautiful word picture, Pam. Thanks.

  8. Thank you Sharon, Bobbi, Tracy, Janis, Violet, and Connie for stopping by and for your thoughts. I learn so much from you!


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