Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone with a weak conscience sees you who have this knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, won’t he be emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols? So this weak brother, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. When you sin against your brothers in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall.
1 Corinthians 8:9-13
Paul had just answered the Corinthian Church’s question about eating meat that they knew had been sacrificed to any of the false gods that were worshipped in their city. Paul dismissed it completely saying, ‘we know that an idol is nothing at all…’ It is through God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, that all things come. We are free to eat the meat but are no closer or farther from God if we do. It’s irrelevant.
But not everyone knows this. People without this understanding who live in that culture can put all kinds of weight into that meat that was offered to a false god. What is clearly more important to Paul are the hearts of these people! The exercise of our freedoms should never be a barrier for someone else to come to know Jesus. We exercise our freedom and this weaker brother is destroyed spiritually. We have wounded their weak conscious and have sinned against Christ.
“What? We’ve sinned again Jesus?” Yes. The heart of God beats so passionately for those who have yet to know Him… those who still have their sins counting against them. They are not forgiven and are separated from God… these ones God loves! Jesus died so they could be set free and redeemed – and if our actions work against God’s Mission, we are sinning against Him.
So my devotion to Christ and His Kingdom means that I am responsible for my brother. My words and actions matter in his spiritual walk. This is not just a ‘me and Jesus’ experience. My devotion to Christ is seen in both my commitment to Him and to those around me. I am responsible for my brothers.
Lord Jesus, point out any areas in my life where my actions are not bolstering the faith of others. Help me to encourage people in their walk with You! Use me for Your purposes and in Your mission this day.