Strong Enough to Defer to the Weaker
1 Corinthians 8:9-13
Verse 9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak.
Yesterday we talked about how it is loving to defer to another Christian in the things that are temporal. Today we will discuss a way this may creep into church life without our thinking about it and ways we need to address it.
The passage before us today is talking about a very specific issue the Church in Corinth was dealing with. There were varying faith ages in the congregation, meaning there were some who were more mature in their faith than others. This is a feature of any family unit, albeit in the natural sense, and a Church family is no different in the spiritual sense. In fact one of the signs of a healthy Church is the various levels of spiritual growth but only the healthiest of Churches understand the truth that Paul was trying to help his readers grasp.
The Church in Corinth needed to understand that while the mature believers didn’t feel guilty about eating food that had been offered to idols before being made available for purchase in the market or even eating it in the idol’s temple, the weaker or younger in faith believers felt that was sinning. While this wasn’t something that the more mature saw as an issue, for them to continue to participate in such behaviors in the knowledge of the less mature believers was a sin because it was not showing the love we are commanded to show.
This isn’t meant to be a situation where people of one belief holds others to the standards they have set for themselves but rather a way to show love by abstaining when it will cause another believer to be stunted in their growth because they see it as a sin. For an example while one person may see playing cards as a harmless game, but for a person who has been converted after a lifetime of gambling, playing a simple game of cards may cause them to stumble as they struggle against their past. Another example would be a person seeing nothing wrong with a drink now and then but another person trying to dry out as an alcoholic. Just because one person is fine with a drink here and there doesn’t mean that they should drink in front of the other person or encourage them to just take a sip.
The real issue is that while it may not be a sin to us, is it loving towards the other person? If it could cause them issues in their faith than it is a sin if we do it and will cause issues in our faith because as a Church we are one body and when one person is struggling we should all be living love into that person.
Making It Personal
Have you ever thought someone was wrong because they believed something was a sin that you didn’t feel convicted about? Have you ever felt convicted about something that others weren’t convicted about? How should you show love in these situations?
Making It Personal Kids
Is it good to do something that may hurt another person? Why does Jesus want us to show love to others that may not agree with us? What is something you can do to show someone love today?
Father, please give us wisdom on how to love others in the body of believers. Help us love You so strongly that we know how to love each other. In Jesus’ name, amen.