In today’s reading Paul is writing to a church that is in conflict. The issue is to eat or not eat food sacrificed to idols. Today we do not have this particular issue in our churches, but we have others. Paul’s advice to the Corinthians still applies to our churches today, many years later.
In our churches we all have facts and opinions. Facts are the basic tenets of our faith – one God, Jesus resurrected, forgiveness of sins, love one another – and rules or laws that govern our church or denomination. The tenets of our faith are unchangeable, universally true throughout time. The second set can be changed through whatever process the church has in place. Some of the laws and rules of a church tend to change over time, to better reflect the society and times in which the church exists.
And there are opinions – those things not explicitly explained in the Bible (like how to perform baptism) or are not in the Bible at all (like when to hold worship). In these things we find all sorts of ways to find differences. But arguing amongst ourselves or causing another to sin because of our actions is not living as a Christian.
Paul reminds us to let love be our guide and to be open to others. He reminds us to always be building relationships. He reminds us to find unity in our common ground. Paul also reminds us to be aware of how our behavior influences others so that we are not a stumbling block. Paul was wise.
Scripture reference: 1 Corinthians 8: 1-13