Corinth was a place where many cultures and religions mingled. Many of the Christians probably practiced some sort of pagan religion where they would sacrifice food to idols. It was a struggle for some of the Christians in Corinth to walk in freedom in Christ and break free of the fear of those false gods. Many of the “mature Christians” in Corinth looked down on these weaker brothers and boasted in their knowledge of God as an excuse to not consider their brothers.
We may not sacrifice food to idols but Paul’s words for the Corinthians are applicable to modern day Christians now. Paul is not arguing for who is right on a technical level. He is calling the arrogant Corinthians to consider their brother and to put others good above their own desires. Yes, they were free to eat the meat that was offered to idols because the idols did not really exist. Yet, some of their brothers were having a harder time shaking their old beliefs. Christ enters in to all of our lives at different points and some of us have more baggage to work through then others and we need to be humble and empathetic toward one another. God gets no glory from us exercising our freedoms at the expense of others consciences.
For example, I really like buffets. You get to serve yourself and try different foods. On top of that you get to eat as much as you want. For a poor redneck growing up a good buffet was like hitting the jackpot. A few years ago I met a guy who recently came to know the Lord. I had the privilege to counsel and disciple him. I loved watching him grow but he struggled a lot with over eating (gluttony) and he also liked buffets. One afternoon he wanted to go hang out and get something to eat. One of the options on the table was a buffet. I was conflicted, because, Iike I said I like buffets and they are a great deal too. However, I knew that it would cause him to stumble and sin. He was trying so hard to exercise self control and trust God with this area of his life but he was still struggling. So, I made the difficult call to go to a sandwich shop instead.
As silly as it sounds it was a hard decision at the time because it meant saying no to myself in order to love my friend.
The hardest thing for us to do is say no to our own wants and desires. Sacrifice is a hard thing but we need to always come back to the gospel. Our savior and Lord gave up everything in order for us to know him. Let’s follow his example and think of the good of others over our wants because of our love for Jesus.
By: Chad Wiles