One of the biggest debates in the earliest days of the church was over what you could or couldn’t eat. For us, this is a very interesting debate, we really don’t get it. What are they talking about? For instance, listen to what Paul writes in Romans 14: 13-15
13 Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. 14 I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. 15 For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. (ESV)
Here’s the deal. In that culture, there would have been food that had been dedicated or sacrificed to idols that would have then been eaten in public or private settings. And as Christians we are to worship God, and God alone.
So then, what are Christians to do in settings where they are presented food that had been sacrificed to idols at a meal. Are they to eat? Are they not to eat? What are they to do?
This is where Paul comes down. Hey, it’s just food. There aren’t idols, they are false. So, this food is food that was dedicated to something that doesn’t exist. Feel free to eat it. Really, it’s no big deal. Don’t worry about.
But, some Christians, they may be new to the faith, they may not understand. They may be tripped up. Why are you eating food that was dedicated to idols? It may cause them great trouble. And so Paul comes down to this:
Hey, it’s just food. But, through what you eat, don’t trip someone up. There’s no problem with eating the food. Whatever. But people matter more than food. By what you eat, don’t cause a sister or brother to stumble.
People matter more. People matter more than food. Jesus died for them. Our responsibility is not to our desires or wants, but to our sister or brother. They matter more. People matter more.
Let’s live like that today. People matter more than anything. By how we live, let’s not harm the ones for whom Christ died.
Today, remember. People matter more. Let’s live that way.