Could I, would I, should I, will I?
Give up something, that is perfectly acceptable to me, if my doing it hurts or harms someone else?
Just because I think it is OK, someone else may not be able to cope with it.
Paul’s focus here is on food, but the scope is much wider. What am I doing in my life, that may be harming the life of others? What do I do, possibly even without thinking, that is making life harder for someone else? Making it more difficult for them to hang on in there, or stick to their path? Putting temptation in someone else’s way? Making them angry or upset – with good reason? What things do I say, that would be better not said?
Things that may be effecting my life, without me realising, or even thinking?
Something to pause and think on as we journey through Lent.
1 Corinthians 8 (CEV)
Food Offered to Idols
8 In your letter you asked me about food offered to idols. All of us know something about this subject. But knowledge makes us proud of ourselves, while love makes us helpful to others. 2 In fact, people who think they know so much don’t know anything at all. 3 But God has no doubts about who loves him.
4 Even though food is offered to idols, we know that none of the idols in this world are alive. After all, there is only one God. 5 Many things in heaven and on earth are called gods and lords, but none of them really are gods or lords. 6 We have only one God, and he is the Father. He created everything, and we live for him. Jesus Christ is our only Lord. Everything was made by him, and by him life was given to us.
7 Not everyone knows these things. In fact, many people have grown up with the belief that idols have life in them. So when they eat meat offered to idols, they are bothered by a weak conscience. 8 But food doesn’t bring us any closer to God. We are no worse off if we don’t eat, and we are no better off if we do.
9 Don’t cause problems for someone with a weak conscience, just because you have the right to eat anything. 10 You know all this, and so it doesn’t bother you to eat in the temple of an idol. But suppose a person with a weak conscience sees you and decides to eat food that has been offered to idols. 11 Then what you know has destroyed someone Christ died for. 12 When you sin by hurting a follower with a weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 13 So if I hurt one of the Lord’s followers by what I eat, I will never eat meat as long as I live.
help me to reflect on all I do.
To realise the things that damage others,
don’t help in situations,
point people in the wrong direction
and are unhelpful to me.
I hand them to you,