As a pastor, I don’t drink alcohol, not because doing so will defile me, but for love’s sake. As a leader, I am called to be an example to all – those who are strong in faith and those who are weak in faith. As a leader, my goal is to edify and to build up, not to destroy others to prove a point.
There is a big difference between a teacher and a father.
Teachers often view their main goal as imparting knowledge; whereas fathers impart love.
It saddens me as a pastor to see Christians claim superior knowledge or revelation by going to parties (fetes), drinking excessive alcohol or embracing the world.
Unfortunately, they use their freedom as a liberty to sin or a cloak of evil. We have been set free by love to love. Let’s look at some scenarios and determine what love requires.
Food offered to idols
Let’s say I believe that I can bless any food and eat it. So I am in a Hindu temple eating during Divali; however I am doing it unto Jesus. Am I sinning? No.
Let’s say my brother, a former Hindu, observes me and does the same. However in his heart, he believes that he is eating food offered to idols and is convicted of sin. By my freedom, I am destroying my brother. In this case, I have sinned against my brother and Jesus Himself!
Let’s say I am sipping some wine and do not drink to the point of getting drunk. Am I sinning? No.
Let’s say my brother, who was a former alcoholic, sees and follows my example. Sadly, he spends the night hugging up the bottle. By my freedom, I am destroying my brother. In this case, I have sinned against my brother and Jesus Himself!
Let’s say, I believe Jesus would go to parties, so I go. In the party, I minister and preach to others. I share all my stories with others. Have I sinned? No.
Let’s say my brother hears my stories and decides to go to parties. However, he succumbs to the spirits and spend his night dancing with girls in a corner. By my freedom, I am destroying my brother. In this case, I have sinned against my brother and Jesus Himself!
Sin is the issue. Is your freedom leading you or your brother to sin? Some people believe that sin is no longer an issue – well if that’s true, then love is no longer an issue either.
Sin is an act that violates love.
Christians who flaunt their faith without consideration for their brothers or sister are not truly walking in love.
Those who claim that they are walking in freedom must judge if they are using their freedom to sin. Without consideration for your brother, if you personally drink and get drunk, or go to a fete and walk in lust or go to the beach and walk in lust, you have sinned! Sin is not an illusion, Jesus didn’t die for an illusion. Sin will bring disastrous effects into your life.
The question is – are you sinning or causing another to sin?
“It’s true that we can’t win God’s approval by what we eat. We don’t lose anything if we don’t eat it, and we don’t gain anything if we do. But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble. For if others see you—with your “superior knowledge”—eating in the temple of an idol, won’t they be encouraged to violate their conscience by eating food that has been offered to an idol? So because of your superior knowledge, a weak believer for whom Christ died will be destroyed. And when YOU SIN AGAINST OTHER BELIEVERS by encouraging them to do something they believe is wrong, YOU ARE SINNING AGAINST CHRIST. So if what I eat causes another believer to sin, I will never eat meat again as long as I live—for I don’t want to cause another believer to stumble.” 1 Corinthians 8:8-13
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