Just as infection and disease can ravage and destroy a body, spiritual corruption is consequential. Suffering and death inevitably follow corruption.

In Jesus’ mission to introduce the Kingdom of God, he had much to say about spiritual corruption. Sin is not a private problem, but a plague that spreads through the community.

Jesus had harsh words for those who pollute and harm others. 

Mark 9:
42 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea. 

Everyone from my generation who read books or watched movies about pirates knew that enemies were bound and sent at sword tip to walk the plank until they fell into the ocean and drowned. Jesus’ words here imply that same effect.

We often quote this verse in response to child abuse. We want to comfort victims by inferring that Jesus must hate their abusers and want the death penalty as payback. Taken in isolation, this verse gives us a platform for hatred against abusers. But is that what Jesus was saying?

It is ‘those who believe in Jesus’ that are called little ones. Jesus was horribly abused and executed on a cross. He bore this injustice without retaliation or calling upon his followers to rise up. Jesus often warned people that following His path would lead to their suffering alongside him.

A proper understanding of Jesus’ justice looks to God as the executioner of vengeance. Jesus’ words here are not directed at victims as much as to those who oppress and bring injustice upon God’s little ones. Do not presume to always be the ‘little one’. All are capable of spiritual brutality upon the weak.

Each of us must examine our lives for spiritual disease knowing that it is consequential. We could end up walking the plank with a millstone necklace.