Some people seem to be getting all worked up over buying and eating meat that came to the market through the pagan temple system. Before it got to the market the meat was at one point sacrificed to idols. Of course, those believers who claim enlightenment aren’t worried because they know that the whole idol thing is bogus -- the so-called deities are fakes.
In a sense we’re all enlightened with this “knowledge.” Yet, knowledge tends to turn us into arrogant prudes. Love, on the other hand, does the opposite, because it is all about strengthening others.
2 So, if anyone thinks they’ve got it all figured out -- that they have “knowledge” under their belt -- they have an inflated understanding of their knowledge. 3 But if someone loves God, they realize that they don’t really know God but that they are known by God.
4 Now, concerning the food sacrificed to the idols, we know that idols are a meaningless fiction in this world. There are no real gods behind them. We do, however, know that there is but one real God. 5 Granted, there are many beings called “gods” -- both in heaven and on earth -- the traditional Roman deities and the deities of the new cults -- “the lords”. 6 However, we believers recognize only one God -- the Father. Everything that exists comes from him and we live for him.
And there is one Lord -- Jesus Christ. Everything exists through him and we live through him.
7 However, not all have been able to fully absorb this knowledge. Because of their prior experiences with idols they struggle eating meat that has been previously sacrificed. For them, with their damaged and weak consciences, it feels too real.
8 Of course, the food itself is not the real issue here. The type of food we eat doesn’t affect our relationship with God. We’re not missing out if we don’t eat the meat, and we don’t have any spiritual advantage if we do eat the meat. 9 Just be careful so that your freedom doesn’t create problems for those who are weak.
10 For example, if you are someone with “knowledge” and someone with a weaker conscience sees you eating steak in a restaurant known to get its grade-A beef from a particular idol’s temple, how will that affect them? What if they feel pressured to eat there, too, creating a crisis of faith for them? 11 At that point your “knowledge” is destroying the weak brother or sister -- someone for whom Christ died. 12 If you wound your weaker Christian sibling in this way you’re actually sinning against Christ himself.
13 So, if eating meat might cause my brother or sister to crash and burn, I’d gladly become a vegetarian for the rest of my life! I don’t want my freedom to contribute to the fall of my siblings.