When we are first converted, especially if we come from a non-Christian background, we are likely to be almost too naive for our own good. The wondrous experience through which we have just passed, or perhaps I should say into which we have entered, has predisposed us to believe in everybody. Our trust in other Christians is likely to be boundless. That there could be hypocrites, double-minded professors, religious pretenders, carnal camp followers, never once enters our minds. The result is that our first encounter with a worldly church member comes as a frightful shock to our sensitive minds. Some never recover from this shattering of their confidence. They become religious cripples. Their growth is stunted and their usefulness destroyed, or at the least greatly hindered from that moment on. That I speak truly here may be proved by everyday experience; but there is a more sure word of Scripture: "But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin [shall offend any one of these, KJV] it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea" (Matthew 18:6).
When we learn that the word offend actually means cause to stumble or to sin, we know how serious the whole thing is. Better to die than to imperil the faith of a weak disciple. Christ's words may mean more than that, but they can hardly mean less.