Yesterday my daughter and I were discussing freedom in Christ which causes your brother to stumble. A verse I often cling to is Colossians 2:16, “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.”
I don’t use this verse to justify my beliefs –but as a reminder of a time when I offended. I felt motivated for a short term fast, and in my zeal told someone. He was a good, godly man but he got this look on his face: stress.
We lived in a resort town full time back then, and shortly after, a family stayed in our neighbor’s house for a vacation. Immediately we became friends and I started to explain my reasoning and decision to homeschool. The mom politely said “The problem with homeschoolers is they think everyone should do it.” I guess we are like vegetarians in that way.
It’s hard when you feel convicted of something: to not declare it. The early church was guilty of this and Peter asked them “why put a yoke on the Gentiles that neither they, nor their fathers could bear?” Acts15 So they decide to give a shorter list than the whole law, the gentiles needed to merely: abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.
Since I didn’t grow up around sacrificing and pagan temples, it is hard for me to grasp “food sacrificed to idols.” This is where the conversation turned with my daughter.
She told me about a youth pastor’s conviction (and struggle) to give up music by a band that we listen to. Music means little to me, so that would not be an area of my life that I contended with God.
But if next time we gave that youth pastor a ride, I knowingly put that band on the stereo, wouldn’t I be in violation of exercising my freedom in such a way that it causes a stumbling block? 1 Corinthians 8:9
Just when I feel comfortable with the concept, I read the whole chapter of 1 Corinthians 8. It tells me knowledge puffs up. So I want to emphasize, that while I believe there is an ablsolute truth concerning the NIV version of the Bible, email on Sunday, drinking wine, dancing at weddings and homeschool, I don’t necessarily have it in completeness.
Besides balance, we need grace for others who are not where we are in our walk. And hopefully it will be extended back.