Let us say that you and your friends are out on the town enjoying a lovely dinner after a long week’s work. It’s time to kick back, relax, and let the stress roll off of your back. You order a glass of wine. Among your dinner party are some non-believers who know you to be a Christian, and they decide to call you out on your choice of beverage. According to their understanding, they say, “Wait, Christians are not supposed to drink.” You know the word of the Lord addresses this issue advising believers not to drink unto drunkenness. You know that a glass of wine is not a sin, but what do you do? Do you accept and drink the glass of wine that you ordered, or do you decline the alcoholic beverage so as not to be a stumbling block to your friends? This brings us to our text coming out of I Corinthians 8:4 — 13 (KJV). The word of the Lord reads:
4 As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. 5 For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) 6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.
7 Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. 8 But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse. 9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.
10 For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols; 11 And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? 12 But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. 13 Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.
In his letter to the church at Corinth, Paul instructs his listeners that it is a sin against God to be a stumbling block unto others. In simpler terms, we as believers are not to do anything that will hinder someone else’s relationship with God or negatively influence the chances of someone coming to know God as their Lord and Savior — even if we know an action is not a sin. In Paul’s example, he uses the act of eating the meat of idols. In Biblical times, certain pagan religions would offer food to their gods, and it was supposed by some that it was a sin for Christians to eat such food. Paul explains, however, that this is not the case. He says, “An idol is nothing in the world, and there is none other God but one…meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.” He proceeds to say that although the latter is true, a believer should not indulge in eating the meat of idols in the presence of those who think it is a sin if it will hurt their spiritual walk with the Lord. The same applies to our wine scenario. Although you may know that a glass of wine is not a sin, you should not drink it in the presence of others who do not know any better. Of course, seek to explain what the word of the Lord has to say about certain issues like unto this, but until they are able to have a full understanding, it is best to just hold off in their presence.
How far will you take your faith today? Are you willing to deny yourself certain pleasures for the sake of your neighbor’s relationship with Christ? If Jesus can die for our sins and save our souls, surely we can respect His simple request.
Have a blessed day!
The founder of Your Black Poets, Ayvaunn Penn is an award-winning writer and the author of Ephemeral Moments: a collection of poetry and short stories available soon on Amazon.com. To receive Ayvaunn’s daily devotionals by email, click here. Click to follow her on Facebook and Twitter. To have your original poetry featured on Your Black Poets, click here.