Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Stumbling Block

November 30: 1 Corinthians 5-8

7 However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. 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. 9 But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For 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? 11 And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. 12 Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.
1 Corinthians 8:7-13, ESV

A Stumbling Block

How are we to view differences in thought as to what is or is not a sin? The Bible is very clear in many areas, but there are some things that are not directly approached. This was exactly the case when Paul spoke about eating food offered to idols.

Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do.

The chief concern, however, is the reaction of our fellow believer. We must be so careful that we do not use our liberty in areas that may prove to be a stumbling block for our fellow believer(s).

How relevant is this principle for us today? Believers seem to have varying views of what is or is not a sin. For example, some groups may believe that mixed swimming (girls and guys) should be forbidden, while others see no problem with it. I sometimes wonder if there are two believers anywhere in the world who actually agree with one another!

Each day, we must cry out to the Lord to give us patience with our fellow believers. If God convicts us that something we do is a sin, it is not right for us to go out and find every Christian we know who is participating in that same activity, so that we might point out their sin. Remember, I am not talking about areas that are specifically addressed in the Word. I am speaking, rather, of areas that are a part of our liberty as a Christian.

Here are some of the issues that I have noted.

*Is it right for women to wear pants?
*Should all women wear their hair long?
*Is it wrong for men to wear their hair long?
*Is it all right to watch movies or television?

The list just goes on and on, does it not? According to the principles taught by Paul, we must be sensitive to the differing beliefs among our fellow Christians. We do not want to find ourselves in the position of being a stumbling block to someone who is considering the Gospel.

Also, consider the fact that churches are often split over issues such as these! Let it not be at our hands!

Pray that God will guide you so that your life may be a shining example of Christ working in your life, and that you will not be a stumbling block to others.

God Bless You,

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