December 3, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that ‘We all possess knowledge.’ But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. But whoever loves God is known by God. So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that ‘An idol is nothing at all in the world’ and that ‘There is no God but one.’ For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many ‘gods’ and many ‘lords’), yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.”—1 Corinthians 8:1–6 (NIV)
Have you ever had a conversation with someone who speaks on a subject with arrogance because they think they know everything there is to know? Think about that know-it-all you had to talk to in class who said so much and yet so little at the same time. Paul is talking to the people of Corinth about eating food sacrificed to idols like this said know-it-all. But, he opens up the passage by reminding them that a little bit of knowledge can puff up our egos while acting in love builds each other up. So, instead of trying to prove a point based on what “we know,” we should respond to questions and concerns like this in love.
The issue at hand here is there were two groups of people: those who thought it was a sin to eat the food that had been sacrificed to worldly gods and those who felt because there is only one true God, it was harmless. Paul confirms that, “There is no God but one.” Therefore, the gods in question have no power, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t dangerous. Idols of any kind can be a hindrance to our faith and should be taken seriously, but Paul was focused more on the intention and how Christian’s should make decisions out of a posture of their faith.
At the end of the day, Paul was explaining that everything comes from God and belongs to God. So, the problem at hand he was trying to teach them was that while they knew what was technically right, they lacked love in their judgements of others who made a different decision than them.
How many times have you had a moment where you were judging someone for doing something “wrong.” You can still be fully right in your convictions, but wrong in your attitude towards others when you condemn them because it’s not out of a place of love.
As believers, we’re called to love and help one another when we’re struggling, not cast stones and then claim it’s because we know God’s best. The woman who was almost stoned to death for adultery is a perfect example of these two distinctions. The Pharisees weren’t wrong in saying what she was doing was sinful, but their heart behind it was sinful.
If you genuinely care for someone and believe them to be sinning, the worst way to confront them is with an arrogant attitude. Jesus calls us to call each other out in love and without judgement, just as He did for so many during His ministry on earth.
Pause: Has there been a time in your life where I approached someone in arrogance over their sin? How could you have handled that situation with more love and compassion for that person?
Practice: Take stock daily of your heart behind your interactions with those around you. Are you acting out of a place of judgement or a concern for the other person? Ask yourself how you can be aware of those intentions in the moment, so you don’t have to go back later and realize you’ve done more harm than good.
Pray: Lord, thank You for Your grace. No matter what You always come from a place of love for me and Your people. Please teach me how to be more like You and respond in a way that reflects Your heart and care for people. Amen.
Kristen Hollis has served in the Communications Team of Calvary since 2020 as a Senior Copywriter and Editor. She contributes and edits content for Calvary’s digital and promotional initiatives. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English and Communications from Palm Beach Atlantic University. Kristen and her husband Zachary enjoy all things musical theatre, vinyl hunting, and having the opportunity to serve Calvary on staff while utilizing their talents.