I've been preparing for a message from 1 Corinthians 8 this week which deals with food sacrificed to idols...at least on first glance. The sacrificed food really just provided an occasion for Paul to expose an attitude problem in the church. People who were a bit stronger in their knowledge were tripping up people who weren't quite so strong. And they didn't seem to care.
There are matters of conscience like this in the fellowship all the time. Think about alcohol, R-rated movies, non-Christian music, and tattoos. Think about homeschooling, KJV Bibles, and vegetarianism. These are just a couple of things that people get fired up about. And they are all things that mature Christians might choose to set aside as "minor" issues. But sometimes we decide to make these minor issues into "major" issues. Sometimes we cause fights over this little stinkers! But when you encounter people who are deeply convicted over such things how should you act?
It's tempting to tell people they are stupid, wrong, or misinformed. It's tempting to try to talk them out of it, or flaunt our freedom from such legalism/superstition. But that's where the Corinthians had gotten off track. You don't use your freedom in Christ to taunt, shame, or humiliate fellow Christians. You don't encourage people to break their own consciences by doing something they're convinced they shouldn't do. You don't do things in front of people that might cause them to stumble. Because strong Christians, with accurate understanding, and strong knowledge, should lead the way in acting maturely. So at times the strong lay down their rights, freedoms, convictions for the sake of someone who is weak. And we do it so Christ might get the increase.
Read the Bible in One Year Plan: 1 Kings 15-17