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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Innocent to Me, Harmful for Another (1 Corinthians 8:12)

"But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ" (1 Corinthians 8:12).

Our family enjoys playing cards, so, when we have a get-together in our home card playing just happens.

A couple of years ago our family invited a bunch of people over for fun and fellowship. Playing cards just happened. One young lady brought a friend with her whom we didn't know; nor did we know that this young believer was a recovering compulsive gambler. You can see the developing problem. Well, we found out later that he fell off of the wagon at our house! Had we known that he was coming and that he had a gambling problem we would have planned another activity altogether. Who knew?

That's kinda what Paul is talking about in 1 Corinthians chapter eight. Except the problem isn't cards but carved statues, which some people know and worship as idols; and what others know as carved statues, without any religious connotations whatsoever.

Seeing another believer eat meat offered to an idol may cause a weaker idol worshipping-background believer to revert to idol worship. What means nothing to you may mean something harmful to another. Their problem is your problem.

Had we known our card playing on that day would have caused this young man to stumble we would have found fun in some other activity. Our card playing wasn't wrong; it was just wrong to do on that day when that brother was in our home. Had we known about his problem and played cards anyway we would have sinned against Christ and our brother. "So this weak brother for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge". Since we had no prior knowledge we simply caused a brother to stumble. Makes me sad. Had we only known.

That experience makes us very sensitive about card-playing. Maybe this fun activity should remain a family and close friend activity only.

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
1 Corinthians 8:1-11:1
  • What are some activities Christians are free to do but may be misunderstood or even cause harm to weaker believers?
  • What "right" or "expectation" do pastors/preachers have that Paul gives up so that his motives aren't misunderstood?
  • Why does Paul "make himself a slave" even though he is free?
  • How does Paul describe the serious runner?
  • What does this analogy teach Christians about their bodies and their "freedoms"?
  • List the things that Paul mentions that disqualify the children of Israel from entering into the promised land.
  • How do these examples apply to our lives today?
  • How are believers to regard all of their activities?
Turning truth into prayer
Ask the Lord to pinpoint areas in your life that aren't necessarily wrong but cause others to stumble.