following someone else’s conscience
A couple of days ago, I posted about Paul’s instruction to the church in Corinth regarding our conscience. Yesterday I read from chapters 8-10 and in this section Paul takes the discussion of conscience a step further.
Apparently there was some discussion at Corinth about the morality of eating meat that had been offered to false gods. Some felt like this was on the “do not do” list. After all, to eat meat offered to a god would be acknowledging and entering into the worship of that god. Others, however, understood that Christ had freed them from these kinds of concerns and they could eat the meat without concern.
Paul makes it clear that eating something doesn’t take away or enhance one’s relationship to God. Even though he affirms this and preaches this, here’s what he says:
10:24 Don’t think only of your own good. Think of other Christians and what is best for them.
10:27-29 If someone who isn’t a Christian asks you home for dinner, go ahead; accept the invitation if you want to. Eat whatever is offered to you and don’t ask any questions about it. Your conscience should not be bothered by this. But suppose someone warns you that this meat has been offered to an idol. Don’t eat it, out of consideration for the conscience of the one who told you. It might not be a matter of conscience for you, but it is for the other person.
According to Paul, we ought to consider the conscience of others. We have an obligation to our brothers and sisters in Christ to live in such a way that our freedom doesn’t interfere with their understanding of what is right and wrong.
I get really frustrated when people begin to live in “freedom” when really it seems more like selfishness. This is especially aggravating when younger, less mature believers misunderstand that freedom and are hindered in their pursuit of Christ.
So, don’t rely on your own conscience to lead you. Instead, let’s consider others around us, be led by the Holy Spirit and let Jesus be the judge of how we live.