Wednesday 12th February
I Corinthians 10: 23 – 33
‘All things are lawful’, but not all things are beneficial. ‘All things are lawful’, but not all things build up. Do not seek your own advantage, but that of others. Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience, for ‘the earth and its fullness are the Lord’s.’ If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience. But if someone says to you, ‘This has been offered in sacrifice’, then do not eat it, out of consideration for the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience — I mean the other’s conscience, not your own. For why should my liberty be subject to the judgement of someone else’s conscience? If I partake with thankfulness, why should I be denounced because of that for which I give thanks? So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. Give no offence to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, so that they may be saved.
This passage appears fairly straight forward – don’t go around telling people you can’t do (x) because it’s against your religion if it is going to cause offense or make you morally superior because that takes away from the not doing it, but how often do we do or say things that do cause offense or make us feel morally superior?
I have a friend who is vegan and a very proactive activist when it comes to issues around the use of fur or the treatment of animals for food, and another friend who is not vegan or a big activist, yet when the two go out for lunch they both eat vegan because my non-vegan friend does not want to make my vegan friend uncomfortable over lunch and recognises that vegan meals can actually be the tastiest thing on the menu. My non-vegan friend also takes a coffee to my vegan friend if they are on a picket line or information table in the city centre and will stay and chat, because she is not ashamed of my vegan friend or what they are doing. My vegan friend can be very blunt about the effect of eating meat, and how animals are treated and this winds some folk up, but I look at their writings on Facebook and think “do people think I sound like that about LGBT*+ rights, or Jesus, or Jesus and LGBT*+ rights?” The truth is we all have things that fire us, yet we hear from Paul here that there are times we need to temper what or how we say something because otherwise the message of Jesus and the glorification of God is lost.
This isn’t about us, it’s about the world and God and if we aren’t honouring God then we might need to consider who we are honouring.
Gracious God, we remember that all the glory and honour are yours, when we forget this, remind us gently and help us remember we remain in your love and grace. Amen