“Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak…When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 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” (1 Corinthians 8:9, 12-13).
This section of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians had to do with food that had been sacrificed to idols. Unless you were the upper crust and the richest 1-3% of Corinth, the only meat available was meat that had been used for pagan sacrifices at the temples in Corinth.
There were some who knew that there was only one God: Yahweh. So they had no problems eating meat that had been used in pagan sacrifices because they knew such gods didn’t exist. However, there were those who considered meat/food that had been sacrificed in pagan sacrifices to be unclean and would not eat such meat. This was the issue at hand.
Look at Paul’s admonition to the church in Corinth:
- Be careful that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak
- If what I eat causes a brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again
- I will do whatever it takes so that I will not cause a brother or sister to fall
- Because when we sin against a brother or sister, we are not only sinning against them, but Christ himself!
Our world is a world where individual rights trumps all:
- No one, no government can make me wear a mask vs. we should mask up for everyone’s safety
- Open up the economy as it is in Texas, Mississippi, Florida and get rid of all restrictions vs. keep things shut down partially until everyone who wants to be vaccinated is vaccinated
- Right to bear arms vs. stricter gun controls
- The list in endless
What would happen to our Christian witness if we lived by what Paul advises?
Such a church would be absolutely refreshing to a world like ours. Such a church would be an amazing witness in a world so divided.
So what would be so refreshing and so amazing?
This would be a church that puts the valuing of others and their needs before our own. Such a church, instead of trying to show others why they are wrong or why others should think the way we think, the main question such a church operates by is: How can I add value to the people around me?
Can you imagine what such a church could do in this world? Could you imagine the impact 250-300 Little Church and Lakewoodgrace people could have in this community if we became value adding agents wherever we were?
As you go through this day, ask yourself, “How can I add value to the people around me?”
Now go do it! Add value everywhere you are!