Don’t Talk Them Out of It

In 1 Corinthians 8 Paul talks about meat that is offered to idols because this was a common stumbling block to the Gentiles who grew up serving other gods and now were faced with the moral questions in their minds of whether this was ok. Paul explains how our knowledge of things we understand can damage people who are weaker in their faith, and we have to be humble and careful that we don’t use our knowledge to hurt. Paul very well understood that since there technically are no other gods, even if others choose to believe there are, there would be no harm in eating meat that was offered to such an imaginary god. However, since so many of the Gentile believers grew up this way and there was a moral struggle in their minds at the thought of eating meat that was offered to idols, Paul tells the church that need to use their knowledge wisely. Instead of talking someone out of this moral crisis, they needed to avoid the meat because talking them out of the moral crisis is not setting them free of it. It damages their sin conscience because something inside them feels wrong about it, even though we understand in our own minds that there is nothing wrong. If we talk someone out of something they feel to be wrong, we are in the wrong because we cause them to sin in their own minds and hearts. Obviously, we don’t struggle with meat offered to idols, but there are plenty of other convictions that people have. It’s tempting to want to set people free of some of these convictions based on our own knowledge and freedom of understanding, but according to this passage, that is not the right thing to do. WE need to allow people to have their convictions, so they don’t sin against their own conscience and hurt their relationship with God. To talk them out of their conviction would be wrong on our parts and we need to see it this way so we aren’t guilty of leading someone into sin and guilt. I never really looked at this way and I have probably tried reasoning people out of what I felt was a religious idea, and thought that I was helping. Reading this has really opened my eyes to the fact that it’s not something we should take lightly. If the heart feels wrong, it is wrong and we need to stop trying to be Holy Spirit on behalf of other people.

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