Paul starts off this chapter 8 off reminding us of the importance of love. That love is more important than knowledge, for knowledge can puff a person up, while love builds up.
1Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that "all of us possess knowledge." This "knowledge" puffs up, but love builds up. 2 If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. 3But if anyone loves God he is known by God.
So remembering that all things are to be based in that...in love, perhaps in practicality this chapter will be more workable. Have to admit, I've oft missed (as in not paid close enough attention) that opening verse.So here is the problem facing the Corinthians
4Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that "an idol has no real existence," and that "there is no God but one." 5For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords"— 6yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. 7However, not all possess this knowledge.
See, not everyone gets it! They don't. They don't see the difference between GOD and gods and lords. Even though we know it, doesn't mean that everyone does. Doesn't mean that everyone in the church understands this to the same level.
But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.They see idols, they see food and they think it is real. They are so new in their faith, or so weak in their understanding, that they just don't get it.
8 Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do.Not everyone understands this though. This leaves us with a question: what do we do about it?
Remember? what is the basis that Paul is starting from? Love, not knowledge, Love.
9But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 10For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? 11And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. 12Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. 13Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.So we need to take care of our weaker brothers in Christ.
So who are these weaker brothers? This is an area that I find confounding. People that I find are mature believers have their areas of weaknesses, things that they don't do because they don't see GOD, they see stuff. They just don't get it. And I don't get that they don't "get it". Makes me thing that they are just being stupid. I don't tend to have alot of patience with just being stupid. Fortunately as I continue to mature, I have learned the art of asking more questions, and not letting people think that I think they are just being stupid (good thing huh?)
I'm sure I have areas in my life that I don't get either, and I would hope that someone wouldn't throw the "knowledge thing" in my face (unless I'm just being really stupid). But would sensitive, loving toward the fact that for me to do something would be wrong in my walk with the Lord God.
I still find it hard though. Hard to balance not doing something because it can be damaging to one's ability to worship and serve God, and just saying enough of this, you are being stupid, God's word says _____________ and then just get on with it. Not the most loving approach.
So how does one balance out being sensitive to anothers' lack of faith and the need for them to just mature more in a particular area? Where teaching might help, but sometimes is just more a matter of trusting God in something more?
Any help out there?