When I first saw today's reading, I thought to myself, what could possibly be the message from a passage about eating or not eating food sacrificed to idols. Come on, this may have had relevance two thousand years ago, but it certainly does not have relevance today. I mean when was the last time you had to decide to eat or not eat food that had been sacrificed to an idol? Exactly my point. However, as a read today's passage a several times, I began to realize that it did have a relevant message for us in the twenty first century. Let's have a look.
Verse 8 says, "But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do." Food is neither good nor evil, regardless of whether or not is has been sacrificed to an idol. Paul indicates that Christians have the freedom to eat such meat. However, we should not let our "freedom" cause others to stray. Remember everything is not about "me". Helping others grow in their faith is much more important.
So what is Paul telling us? I think what Paul is telling us is that mature Christians (Christians strong in their faith) can participate in things that would cause other, less mature (less strong in their faith), Christians to fall into sin. Thus, mature Christians are called to act in a way that will not lead less mature Christians to stray. In other words, even if a Christian could do something, he/she should not do it if it would lead others astray. For example, a mature Christian can play cards with his/her friends. But this mature Christian should not invite someone battling a gambling problem to play. A mature Christian should be willing to "sacrifice" their freedom for love of another.
Mature Christians are to act in love. A mature Christian realizes that if Christ willingly gave up his life for us, we should be willing to give up an occasional freedom so as not to harm another.
Wishing you the best in your walk with Christ,