Tuesday, January 12, 2010

"You may be right, but..."

"Now concerning food sacrificed to idols: we know that 'all of us possess knowledge.' Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. Anyone who claims to know something does not yet have the necessary knowledge; but anyone who loves God is known by him."
(1 Corinthians 8:1-3)

Some people know a lot. A LOT! And some like to make sure that others know that they know a lot. Those are the annoying ones, aren't they?

In the 8th chapter of his first letter to the church in Corinth, Paul is dealing with a delicate issue. Corinth was a city bathed in religion. There were many different houses of worship - many requiring a sacrifice of food. Well, after the sacrifice was done, the religious leaders would sell the sacrificial food in the marketplace for a little "extra coin." The problem came when some new Christian believers began saying that eating this type of food was the same as worshiping those idols (or at least being unduly "influenced" by them). Others said, "Absolutely not! Food is food. God is God. Period." Ergo the trouble.

So Paul addresses the issue. His verdict? Food is food. God is God. Period. HOWEVER... just because one knows the truth doesn't mean one should use it like a club to batter one's opponents. "Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up." You may be right, but your "right-ness" means nothing without love. Eating food previously sacrificed to idols is no big deal, says Paul... but if it causes an immature Christian to lose faith when you eat that food, don't eat it. Period. Out of love for your weaker (less mature) brother or sister, abstain.

Wow. Sage advice. Too often today we (I?!!) want to be right. We take pride in our learning & knowledge - and justifiably so. We've worked hard to learn. But that doesn't mean that very same knowledge is the "end all and be all" of existence. Nope. Not even close. Love wins that award, hands down. So, you may be right, but...

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