“Be careful, however, not to let your freedom of action make those who are weak in the faith fall into sin”.
1 Cor 8:9 GNB
Questions about right and wrong Christian behaviour have to be approached with a number of considerations in mind. We may ask, “What does the Bible teach?” We may also ask, “What does the church say about it?” Then some people will say, “I prayed, and God guided me to do this or that”. But others will reckon, “If the pastor’s wife can do it, so can I”.
Ever since the time of Paul people in the church have wrestled over many questions of behaviour. Here Paul says to the believers at Corinth “You and your conscience are not the only aspects of this that need to be considered. There are people younger and more junior in the faith and they may take their tip from you without having the strength or will power to control themselves and without understanding why you think you can do these things”. Always there are people looking on.
Always there are others who only want an excuse to indulge in doubtful practices. You must always take them into consideration. What effect will your behaviour have on them? It is one thing to be able to do or say things with a clear conscience, but you have to understand that in love, especially newer Christians or younger people may need an example from you – and will follow yours whether you are conscious of it or not. We live in community with other people and what we do in anything affects other people as well. Sometimes what might be helpful to the weaker person may determine what you need to do.
Lord, help me to be careful about the effect I have on other people.