Reading: 1st Corinthians 8: 1-13
Verse Nine: “Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak”.
As human beings, we all have behaviors and inclinations that can be sinful or can lead to sinful actions. For some, it can be an addiction such as alcohol or drugs or gambling or pornography. For some it can be gossiping or judging or being overly critical. For some it can be pride or ego or selfishness. For some it can be the drive to succeed at work or to excel at a sport or activity. There is no shortage of ways that we can can stumble. So when Paul says, “Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak”, he is asking us to filter almost all we do and say and are through this idea.
Paul wants the Christian community to love each other above all else. Paul sees call to love God and to love neighbor that Jesus elevated to top priority as the core of the faith community. When we truly love God we will refrain from believers that are determined to ourselves or to others we love. When we truly love God we will return from believers that are destructive to ourselves or to others we love. When we truly love others, we will not gossip about, judge, … them because these things only being harm and hurt. When we love God other above all else, we will not make work or personal interests our priorities. By choosing to refrain from these behaviors and inclinations we are choosing to not be a stumbling block to others.
When we do avoid these, we open up the possibility to better see as God sees. When we consider God and others before ourselves then we will pour into their lives and build them up as we come to better see the other as valued and loved by God. In turn we also come to better see our own beloved child status. May we all choose love, building one another up as we grow and move forward as the body of Christ.