7: Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. 8: But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse. 9: But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak. 10: For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols; 11: And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? 12: But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. 13: Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.
Paul is giving teaching regarding the subject of food offered to idols. Previously he has said that there is only one God and that the idol is not a god at all. And so therefore the meat has not changed at all. Its still plain meat. However not everyone has this freedom of thinking. There are some who have a conscience about food that has been offered to idols and if they eat it they have a bad conscience and loose fellowship with God. What we eat does not actually make us any better before God or worse. The problem is that christians who feel at liberty to eat food offered to idols must not allow their liberty to become an obstacle to those whose consciences are weak. If a christian with a weak conscience sees a christian with a strong conscience sit down for a meal in a temple to idolatry will not the conscience of the weak christian be strengthened to eat and in doing so his relationship with God will be spoiled. If we sin against our brothers and hurt their weak conscience then we are sinning against Christ. So if my eating of meat offered to idols offends my brother then l would rather not eat this meat till the end of the world in case l make my brother to sin against God.
- What should we do when we encounter christians that have a difference of opinion which may be a conscience issue for them?
- How should we empathise with other Christians?
- What is the over riding principle in all of our christian interactions?