Not Being a Stumbling Block for Others - 1 Corinthians 8:7-13

Not Being a Stumbling Block for Others

How often do we do something that makes someone else stumble? What is our conscience telling us, or more specifically, what is the Holy Spirit telling us? 

We are given liberty and freedom in Christ, but are we living as a witness of Christ?


1 Corinthians 8:7-13

7 However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. 8 Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. 9 But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol's temple, will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? 11 And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. 12 Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.

Paul just told the Corinthian church that there are no other gods but the One True God, and they should not feel guilty about buying meat from the temple previously dedicated to a false god. It was essentially the weaker and newer Christians who struggled with this. Now, he says that the weaker Christians don’t possess the knowledge and lack a deeper understanding of faith. 

He says that their conscience is weak. Our conscience is our moral compass, helping us distinguish between right and wrong. The Holy Spirit guides our hearts and minds. But it is our relationship with God that strengthens our conscience and allows us to be more submissive to the direction of the Holy Spirit. However, the more spiritually mature must be aware and conscious of the spiritually immature. We must ensure that we are living above reproach and not causing our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to stumble. In today’s world, there is so much interpretation from the perception of things, despite the true intentions of our actions and works. 

We must live in the liberty of Christ, but we must also be aware of the effects of our actions. Paul says that if his eating meat causes his brother to stumble, then he will no longer eat meat. We, too, must make a conscious effort not to cause our brothers and sisters in Christ to stumble. If we cause them to stumble and sin, then we, too, sin against Christ. 

Earlier in this chapter, Paul calls us to build each up, and this is done with love. We are to love God and love others. When we love God and love others, we become more aware and live according to the will of God. We not only gain knowledge of God, but we also gain a further understanding of God when we strengthen our relationship with Him. The spiritually mature have an obligation to build the weaker Christians and be a witness to them without causing them to stumble. This doesn’t mean that we must try to please everybody, but it means that we must be careful in our actions so as not to hinder a fellow believer’s growth with Christ or an unbeliever’s potential path to coming to know Christ. 

Therefore, we should continue to live in the liberty of Christ, but we must also build up the weaker Christians on a path to spiritual maturity. We must be careful not to become a stumbling block that hinders their walk with Christ. Be a witness of Christ, love others, and live above reproach.
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