Daily Thoughts : February 13th
1 Cor 10:23 Everything is permissible"--but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"--but not everything is constructive.
Paul has just been speaking to the Corinthians about food offered to idols. Basically, he says, it's nothing to you what the meat had been used for previously, as long as it is edible. You don't have to worry about their idols; they mean nothing to you; they are merely chunks of wood.
But then he pauses as he reflects on the Christian community. He knows what every pastor knows, that not everyone's faith is so strong that you can just brush aside idols. There are going to be some who will struggle with it, whose consciences will not be easy with the fact that the meat had been offered to idols, which is why he then comes out with this verse. Look, he is saying, everything like this is permissible but sometimes not everything is beneficial or helpful. He explains it further: “Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others,” (v.24) and a bit later on, “Do not cause anyone to stumble.” (v.32)
In other words, things like this which aren't sin, are all right to do, but if there are those whose faith is not so strong and whose consciences are weaker, don't do it, so that you won't be a problem to them. Think about others when you do whatever you do. It may be all right for you but if it is going to cause someone else to stumble, then the simple, loving and caring thing is just don't do it. We're not only to think about ourselves but those around us as well. It is well to err on the safe side when it comes to behaviour that sometimes can be questionable. Question 1 is, would God be happy with what I am doing? Question 2 is, would those closest to me be happy with what I am doing? If there is any doubt whatsoever, the safe thing is to stand back from it.
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