Caring for People – Part #3: Someone is Watching

“For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols? And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.” (1 Corinthians 8:10-13)

In Paul’s day, it was customary for the meat used as worship offerings in the pagan temples to find its way into the local marketplaces. Gentile Christians who had been saved out of paganism had an issue with the Jewish Christians who would eat this meat. Their freedom had become a stumbling block to the younger, less mature Christians. Thus, Paul told the Corinthian church that it may be necessary to curb their personal freedom to not offend. Paul said that just because you “can” do something does not always mean that you “should.” His lesson: proper love and care for others will lead you to consider how your actions affect them. To demonstrate his point, Paul said that he would not eat the offensive meat if it would cause a less mature Christian to stumble. We are taught by the secular world to assert our individual rights, placing ourselves as a priority. The Bible teaches us that love for others should be the priority. We do not live our lives in a spiritual vacuum. Our actions affect our families, the church, and the surrounding community. When it comes to the matter of personal freedom, the lack of a stop sign does not always means go.

Reflection Questions.

What are the areas/actions that most often create an offense to the less mature Christian?

Would you be willing to give up something the Bible does not prohibit because it may be   damaging to a less mature Christian?

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