Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 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: 8-13
You may not be aware of it, but other followers of Christ are watching the way you lead your life and your actions may have unintended consequences. In the passage above Paul challenged the strong to protect the weak. As Billy Sunday said, “I dare not exercise personal liberty if it infringes on the liberty of others.”
Several years ago, while teaching a group of high school students, I commented that our family had watched a particular movie that went beyond the kind of movie that we normally viewed. Later I learned that one student approached her parents with my endorsement as a valid reason for them to allow her to see the movie. The family followed my lead and while I stand by my view of the film, it does underscore the influence our lives can have on others.
The last thing I want to be is a “stumbling block” to someone else, how about you? So what kind of limits are you willing to place on your life?
Substitute any number of topics in Paul’s words: Therefore, if __________ makes my brother stumble, I will never _________________ , lest I make my brother stumble.