DON’T BE A “KNOW-IT-ALL”!
Lord, help me to live within Your grace today.
Read 1 Corinthians 8:1–13
Concerning Food Sacrificed to Idols
8 Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that “We all possess knowledge.” But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. 2 Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. 3 But whoever loves God is known by God.
4 So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that “An idol is nothing at all in the world” and that “There is no God but one.” 5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), 6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.
7 But not everyone possesses this knowledge. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. 8 But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.
9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols? 11 So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. 12 When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat is more important to you—being right or being loving?
I must confess to being someone who naturally sees the world in terms of black and white—something is either right or wrong! I really have to depend on God for his grace so that I don’t tread on numerous toes and upset everyone around me.
The Corinthian church seemed to be full of people just like me! They knew that God was the only true God and that idols were mere lumps of wood, stone, or metal. They knew that it made no difference whether or not meat had been used in a religious ceremony before it was eaten, and so they thought it was nonsense not to take advantage of cheaper meat available in the temple markets.
Paul, however, challenged them to consider the effects of their decision on those who were newer or weaker Christians. People seeing them get meat from the temple might have assumed that they had been involved in idol worship, and that it was alright to sacrifice to idols and worship God. In Paul’s opinion, there was no point in being right if that causes other people to go wrong!
Paul’s words challenge me today—in what ways am I so insistent that I am right that in fact I am wrong, because I have not loved and built up others?
Is there a particular issue you question? Ask yourself: is it wrong according to Scripture? Is it wrong for you personally? Is it wrong in the eyes of unbelievers? This can help adjust your view.
Ask God to show you his perspective on this matter and to fill you with his grace and love as you explore the way ahead with others.