Theme: THE VOICE OF CONSCIENCE
Text: “But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak. For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols.” – 1 Corinthians 8:9, 10.
Comment: The Bible recognises the need for one to respect the conscience of another, even where the other person’s conscience is weak or where his actions are based on ignorance. At the time of the Roman empire, it was common practice for people to take to the market meat that had been offered as sacrifice to idols – images of wood and stone having no power whatsoever. Thus, St. Paul stated that a Christian having a weak conscience owing to lack of spiritual understanding, may think that it is a sin to eat such meats. But those who have spiritual understanding, should not exercise their liberty in a way that would weaken the faith of those who are new in the faith. Hence he said “but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way”, adding, “if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.” (Romans 14:12-15) We should take note of the guidelines given us by St. Paul in deciding on what is acceptable. He stated, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” – Philippians 4:8.