“But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.” (1 Corinthians 8:5)

Are you proud of your freedom in Christ? What things do you do which may not be sinful but which may lead others into sin if they copied your behavior? In the Church at Corinth, believers boasted in demonstrations of individual freedom as the highest form of godliness rather than responsibility and love toward their brethren. They they were selfish and did what pleased then without giving thought to how what they did affected anyone else. One of the areas that demonstrated their selfishness was eating meat sacrificed to idols. The problem was they did this at fellowship meals in pagan temples. They figured they could eat such meat because idols had no real existence. They taught this behavior to recent converts and urged them to do the same to show that they were truly “in the spirit”

While Paul knew that idols may not have had real substance, he maintained that the Corinthians sinned, because they did not take into account that they were misleading their weaker brethren and causing them to sin. To these weaker ones, an idol was real and when they saw their “stronger” brethren eating at pagan temples, they thought that fellowship with false gods was part of the Christian experience. The Corinthians sinned by not edifying these weaker ones.

Paul’s argument is that Christian behavior is not merely a matter of exercising personal freedom but of love for one another. Everything we do, no matter how innocuous or neutral, must take into account the affect it may have on our brethren in Christ. What we do should be determined by the possible effects it may have them. We should never do anything that may be misinterpreted, appear to be sinful, or set a bad example.