Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge. This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.
1 Cor. 8:1-3
I love the fact Paul wasn’t shy about getting down to the root of the problem. In 1 Corinthians, he is taking the opportunity to bring correction to a church that was well intended, but wasn’t yet mature in their handling of many different things. In chapter 8, he addresses the issue of conscience. The city of Corinth was known for its worship of idols. One of the rituals performed was offered the finest quality meats to idols. Obviously, the idols weren’t able to consume it and so stores and restaurants popped up close to the temples where the meat would be sold so as not to waste it.
Many believers within the Corinthian church had no problem consuming this meat even with its shady origination. Paul is not here arguing that it is immoral to eat this meat, but is appealing to them to think of others before themselves. You see, there were many new converts just coming out of idol worship and so for them it was taboo to eat this meat. When they would see other believers eating this meat, it was difficult for them and they were tempted to go against their conscience.
In today’s world, I see this type of thing often with alcohol. Let me first say that I’m not necessarily opposed to the use of alcohol in moderation. I am however concerned with the place of import that many Christians have placed drinking in their lives. It doesn’t seem to even cross their mind that posting pictures or a video on social media with them drinking could be a stumbling block to others. This is especially true for who have those with a real problem with alcoholism and might easily find themselves in a compromised position.
The key according to Paul is to make sure we aren’t using our knowledge, maturity and freedom in Christ as a way to puff ourselves up while forgetting to build others up by loving them no matter where they’re at in their spiritual maturity. Love never fails!