A REFLECTION FOR OUR TIMES

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.” ― Sherrilyn Kenyon

or as Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 8closeERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key 'TEST'closeERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key 'TEST'

Now concerning meat that has been sacrificed to a false god: We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes people arrogant, but love builds people up. If anyone thinks they know something, they don’t yet know as much as they should know. But if someone loves God, then they are known by God.

So concerning the actual food involved in these sacrifices to false gods, we know that a false god isn’t anything in this world, and that there is no God except for the one God. Granted, there are so-called “gods,” in heaven and on the earth, as there are many gods and many lords. However, for us believers,

There is one God the Father.
All things come from him, and we belong to him.
And there is one Lord Jesus Christ.
All things exist through him, and we live through him.

But not everybody knows this. Some are eating this food as though it really is food sacrificed to a real idol, because they were used to idol worship until now. Their conscience is weak because it has been damaged. Food won’t bring us close to God. We’re not missing out if we don’t eat, and we don’t have any advantage if we do eat. But watch out or else this freedom of yours might be a problem for those who are weak. 10 Suppose someone sees you (the person who has knowledge) eating in an idol’s temple. Won’t the person with a weak conscience be encouraged to eat the meat sacrificed to false gods? 11 The weak brother or sister for whom Christ died is destroyed by your knowledge. 12 You sin against Christ if you sin against your brothers and sisters and hurt their weak consciences this way. 13 This is why, if food causes the downfall of my brother or sister, I won’t eat meat ever again, or else I may cause my brother or sister to fall.

Paul’s letter to Corinthians is a letter that has a pastoral heart and challenging nature. The well known “Love” passage is balanced by the challenge of “the care of the whole body of Christ” just a few paragraphs before.

This passage that has haunted me the last few days is the one above which is all about meat offered to idols. Seems a bit irrelevant at first sight but in the light of the last few weeks and the way we are challenged to support one another by the way we make our own choices it seemed remarkably relevant.

What Paul understands about idols (or false gods) means he is OK to eat the meat sold in the market place without asking questions but he says if that is a problem to others and hurt their faith in Jesus then he will not do it because of his relationship with his sisters and brothers. Their well-being is more vital important to him than his own freedom.

As a people of faith that is a challenge whether we are considering venturing out into the community or looking at the shelves in the shops and wondering what and how much we should buy. Our concern, Jesus tells us time and again, is for our neighbour. Paul echoes this to the Corinthians and us. Let us ponder these words as we move on into this coming season.

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