1 Corinthians 8:7 Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.
8 But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.
9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.
10 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;
11 And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?
12 But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.
13 Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.
A man’s conscience is likened to a muscle. When a man exercises his conscience, it becomes strong and increasingly useful. It can protect when the enemy attacks and keep that man from being taken captive. When the conscience is ignored, it deteriorates and becomes weak and less dependable. The apostle Paul warned the believers at Corinth about defiling the weak conscience of others who might not be as strong in the faith. It was so important that they were to be willing to refuse to eat meat, a perfectly acceptable food, if eating it meant someone else’s conscience was going to be harmed. According to Paul, damaging someone’s conscience was to sin against that brother.
- (For children): Some people lack Bible knowledge and believe something is sin when it is not. These people are called weak (Romans 14:1-2). Christians who know the truth are not to offend the weak by tempting them to go against their conscience (Romans 14:3, 17-23).
- (For everyone): A conscience emboldened to sin actually becomes weakened and defiled. How is it that an emboldened conscience (a word typically used to describe strength) is actually made weaker?
- What kind of things have been done to you that might have weakened or defiled your conscience? How have you possibly wounded others?
- Ask God to give you an awareness of the conscience of others.
- Thank the Lord for protecting your conscience.
SONG: WHERE HE LEADS I’LL FOLLOW