What does it say? Paul addressed the issue of whether it was okay for believers to eat meat that had been sacrificed to idols.
What does it mean? Paul deals with the subject of Christian liberty in the next three chapters. He understood that there is only one true God. Therefore, idols amount to nothing as do the sacrifices made to idols. However, people were being converted from pagan idol worship every day. To them, eating meat that had been sacrificed to an idol went against their conscience; they weren’t yet strong in this area of their faith. Paul would rather never eat meat again than to offend a weaker Christian. Mature believers are willing to give up personal rights in order to keep others from stumbling in their faith. Paul warned that personal freedom doesn’t override Christian responsibility.
How should I respond? No man is an island. Your life influences others, whether you mean for it to or not. The people in your house, church, and community are at various points of spiritual maturity. What may seem harmless to you could cause sinful thoughts, actions, or addiction in a weaker believer. Paul’s example in this area is a difficult one to follow because everything in our society tells us to put self first. What practices should you give up because they could hinder another follower of Christ? Instead of asking, “What am I allowed to do?”— ask, “How can I help others grow stronger in their faith?”