Causing my brother to stumble

For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will he not be encouraged if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols. And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble. 1 Corinthians 8:10-13

Seriously?  Go without meat, rather than upset the Christian next to you?  Isn’t that his problem?  If he doesn’t like my steak, he can eat somewhere else.  He is “the weaker” brother after all – and needs to grow a backbone.  Perhaps read his Bible more.  Bottom line – not. my. problem. 

At least, that is how we often think of it these days, isn’t it?  I struggle enough with going without things in my own life, for my own sake, never mind for someone else.  I might give up Halo if it is impacting my walk with God, but does it really occur to me to give it, or something else up, for the sake of my brother in the Lord?

I think a couple things are foundational to our just not getting this concept.  Foremost is how little we really understand what it means to be the body of Christ.  My causing someone else to sin is actually sin on my part – sure Adam and Eve played the blame game, and we all know you aren’t supposed to do that.  But we are, in a sense, responsible for leading our brothers astray.  And, because he is part of the same body that I am a member of, I hurt the Head – that is, I am sinning against Christ.

I think we also miss how few rights we actually have, or even if we do have them (all things are lawful to me), how little we should act on them.  It but rarely occurs to me to deny myself pleasure.  I just try to enjoy it in moderation.  Whether it is apple crisp, or beer, or yet another shopping trip – I simply don’t say no.  As Bunyan reminds us, we ought to “Live upon God that is invisible,’ not only because God is superior to sinful pleasures, but also because He is superior to sacred ones as well.”  (Bunyan/Piper – The Hidden Smile of God)  Superior to sacred pleasures.  There is nothing I could give up, for the sake of unity of the body, that would not be worth the superior pleasure of delighting in God.  I want to live like that.  Willing to forsake everything in this life – if it means not leading the guy next to me in to sin.  I certainly can not do it in my own strength – but He is more than willing to answer this cry. 

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. bishop
    Oct 15, 2008 @ 07:45:46

    I got stuck on the fact that you play Halo. ;))

    Reply

  2. Nicole
    Oct 15, 2008 @ 10:18:13

    LOL – thanks Bishop. I have been addicted to Halo actually – kinda sad…..

    Reply

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