Thursday, February 05, 2015

Liberty and Love

Think about the passage from 1 Corinthians 8:1-13 where Paul is telling the people of Corinth that their actions, even if "correct," are still harmful to the faith of others.  In Corinth, food that had been sacrificed to idols was later sold in the market.  There were those members of the church at Corinth who would not eat this meat because of its source.  Others ridiculed this stand, saying that idols weren't gods and that eating food that had been used in sacrifice to nothing was not sinful.  Paul says:
But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.  For if others see you, who possess knowledge, eating in the temple of an idol, might they not, since their conscience is weak, be encouraged to the point of eating food sacrificed to idols?  So by your knowledge those weak believers for whom Christ died are destroyed. (verses 9-10)
What does that mean for us?  Think about the issues that confront our churches, that swirl around our church meetings, that create discord among our congregations.  Does our desire to be right sometimes override our ability to love?  Nancy Neal, in Disciplines 2015, wrote:
We get caught up in blaming, which drives wedges among us instead of building relationships in love... [W}hen we dig in our heels, we can't hear the other's wisdom.  By letting love guide us, we gain an openness to others.
Christ calls us to love each other.  Could openness offered to the opinion of another instead of stubbornly clinging to what is "right" be a way we offer another person love?

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