“No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or sets it under a bed; rather, he places it on a lampstand so that those who enter may see the light.” (Lk 8,16)
These are words of Christ that clearly tell us that we have to give good example always to others. Wherever we are, whatever we are doing, we should always keep in mind that we have a serious duty to give good example to others.
That’s simply because as man, we cannot help but be connected with others, and thus, affect their lives in some way, even if we are isolated physically. More than just a social being which already gives rise to serious responsibilities for us, we belong to a certain communion among ourselves, a communion that is more spiritual than material, and reinforced by its supernatural dimension that goes beyond the merely natural.
We need to process this basic truth about ourselves so that it would really sink deep in our consciousness and would effectively shape and direct the way we act and relate ourselves to the others all the time.
We have to realize that it is a duty of ours, as Christians, to always give good example to others. Not that we have to flaunt whatever good thing we have or do, for Christ clearly said also that we should not show off our good deed before men, to be seen by them, lest we lose our reward in heaven. (cfr. Mt 6,1)
We have to be aware that we always have to give good example to others for the sole purpose of leading others to God. It is to edify others, to encourage them to be holy and to pursue the path of sanctity in an abiding way.
This duty, therefore, should be carried out deliberately. It should somehow be planned and aimed at. It should not just be something incidental or something optional. Of course, this duty should not be done out of pride or vanity, but out of obedience to the will of God who wants to save all men. (cfr. 1 Tim 2,4)
Thus, Christ warns us never to scandalize others, especially the “little ones,” who can be interpreted not only as children but also as any person whose spiritual life is not yet that well established and strong, and therefore can easily be misled.
“It is inevitable that temptations will come,” Christ said, “but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him to have a millstone hung around his neck and to be thrown into the sea than to cause one of these little ones to stumble.” (Lk 17,1-2)
To avoid scandalizing others or causing them to sin, we should focus more on giving good example. That way, we would be most sensitive to our duty not to scandalize others. We would be aware that we are following Christ’s command and will, and not just pursuing our own agenda in life.
Let us hope that we can echo sincerely in our heart what St. Paul once said: “Be imitators of me as I am of Christ.” (1 Cor 11,1) This should be the motive and the attitude we have in desiring to give good example to others. It is to imitate Christ, to have his mind, to identify ourselves with his will and ways.*