Have you ever thought or even boldly declared, "I don't care what people think."? Some wear this attitude as if it were admirable or a badge of honor. I understand the thought that we can't let people run our lives or allow their opinion of us to knock us off track. We also must not be "people pleasers" leaving God in second or third place on our list of importance. However, we are missing the mark if we use this attitude as a means of letting ourselves off the hook of responsible Christian behavior.
Paul said in 1 Corinthians 8:13 NLT "So if what I eat causes another believer to sin, I will never eat meat again as long as I live—for I don’t want to cause another believer to stumble."
Does Paul's statement only include not eating meat that has been sacrificed to idols of false gods or is there a spirit about his statement that flows into our current culture and activities? Let me provoke you to thought and prayerful consideration for a moment. Paul was careful not to judge, condemn or to call something "law". He called our attention to the freedom we now have in Jesus. But he warned us to not allow our freedom to be seen by others as weakness or to cause a young believer to stumble or question the Spirit of God on the inside of them.
Growing up in the church, I was made aware of all of "God's rules." No alcohol, no smoking, no tattoos, no eating in bars, no secular music, and on and on and on. Are these all in and of themselves sin? Jesus said in Matthew 15:11 that, "Its not what goes in a person that defiles them, but what comes out of them." Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that these are all God approved activities. I'm also not saying that they are sin. But what is Paul talking about?
He is talking about loving people enough to curb our activities in hopes of leading more to Christ. What if having a glass of wine at dinner could cause a new believer to stumble? Would you have a soda instead? How about how we dress, where we eat, what movies we go to, or our comments on Facebook? I believe Paul is challenging mature believers to think of others more than themselves in hopes of leading more to Christ. It is mature to ask, "What will others think?" Who knows, maybe your maturity will open the door to lead a friend to Jesus. Its all worth it!
Hope you enjoy a little thought provoking today!