Scripture: “Now, concerning food offered to idols:
We know that all of us possess “knowledge.” This “knowledge” puff up, but love builds up…Therefore…we know that an idol has no real existence and that there is no God but one….yet for us there is one God (the Father), from who are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.
Food (or stuff) will not commend us to God…. take care that (practicing) this right of your does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.” (heavily excerpted from 1 Cor 8:1-9)
Observation: Through the last number of chapters, Paul seems to be laying down principles of the Christian walk for the Crazy Corinthians. Chapter 8 looks like a case study in conduct restraint for so-called “mature” Christians.
Analysis: I shall know the Truth and the Truth will set me free!!
This verse from John 8:32 springs to mind…and is so far off what Paul is trying to say it isn’t funny.
I often encounter temptations to not modify my behavior around folks. It isn’t that I am not supposed to be “me” (who would recognize me if I laid off corny jokes and bad puns), it is that exercising my “freedom” in Christ at the detriment of my brother that causes puzzle.
And that Is what I think Paul is trying to say. It is the principle of “Yes, I am my brother’s keeper.”
What the scripture here is saying about idols is certainly to be acknowledged: Idols are things, they are not the Living God.
Having a rib-fest is great. Gather around one and all. Oh, and I got a great deal on the ribs from the Idol Shack. While I am ok with it, maaayyybe not everyone would be ok. Meat from the Idol sacrifice table not ringing the bell? Then substitute beer or wine and maybe the picture becomes clearer.
I think the point of Chapter 8 is that I am responsible on how my actions affect others. I noticed that there are no hard and fast rules (which leads to man-fear religion) but a call to action to CONSIDER how my actions may cause someone to stumble.
No rules but one: Draw near to God. Listen to His whisper. Act according to what I hear. Be faithful, not fearful of man.
Prayer: Lord, so many times I want to draw a rule or a nifty worded instruction; something I can put on a plaque and wrap my head around it over and over again. You provide that.
Then there are the other times where the “instruction” isn’t so straightforward: Do it this way today, do it that way tomorrow. I am remembering the circumcision issue with Timothy in Acts.
The point is to LISTEN to You. Read the Word, your whisper will not lead me away from your Word. But it takes a lot of reading to gain wisdom and insight. Help me, O Lord. AMEN.