Food Offered to Idols
8 Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up. 2 If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. 3 But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.
4 Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “an idol has no real existence,” and that “there is no God but one.” 5 For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”— 6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.
7 However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. 8 Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. 9 But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 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? 11 And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. 12 Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (1 Co 8:1–13). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
Church Family: Family Knowledge
Is there someone in your family that always has the last word? Someone with a need to be right? Knowledge carries a certain amount of power and authority with it and we use it to get things done our way. Even more, we use it to distinguish ourselves above others. I find it is so much easier to avoid those ‘agree to disagree’ kind of awkward conversation endings if I can simply convince others to see things my way.
Paul calls that the kind of knowledge that “puffs up”. It is a pretentious, hollow kind of knowledge that may help others as a side effect, but whose main purpose is to inflate the ego and presence of the one who has it. It is the stock and trade of the know-it-all… who can be identified by their vast collection of information - often scattered across random subjects and their inability to utter the phrase: “I don’t know.” I’m speaking from experience here because it takes one to know one. It feels good to have my ego inflated by fixing other people and their problems. Even if I don’t get or want the public recognition of it, it feels great just knowing that the world is a better place because of what I have done or taught others to do.
This is not the kind of knowledge that God wants us to have. God does not desire for us to have all the answers to all the mysteries of the world, big and small. God only wants us to know one thing: that we are loved. God wants us to know that He knows us better than we know ourselves and that He loves us more than we love ourselves.
That kind of knowledge does not ‘puff up’ it builds up. It shows us that we matter and that there is hope ahead. The knowledge of God’s love for us frees us from the need to be in control and allows us to actually have and show faith and trust in God. Most importantly, it allows us to love selflessly. If you do not know you are loved, you will spend your entire life trying to find assurance of that love, probably from all the wrong people, places, and things. If you know the love of your creator, your Heavenly Father, there is nothing more you will ever need and you can use the blessings you have to build up into the lives of others around you instead of criticizing and pulling them down. Even when you know the answers to the trivial things of life, you will not be bound by them, but will be free to love others whether they know or follow the right answers or not - because that is exactly the way God loves us.
Reflection: Do you know that God loves you? How do you experience that love? How do you express it to others? How does your knowledge of God build you up? How do you take God’s love and build up others around you?
Trying to hear the music in the din of many voices.
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