Who’s On First
By Shirley Brosius
“Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak.” 1 Corinthians 8:9
We all touch the lives of others for better or for worse. You might have heard it said that J. O. Y. means putting “Jesus first,” “Others next,” and “Yourself last.” In today’s verse, that’s what Paul, the author, told Corinthian Christians to do. He challenged them to consider the effect their behavior had on others. I need the same reminder.
For health reasons, I follow a low-fat diet, but when my husband buys doughnuts, I’m tempted to eat one, or at least a few bites. At such times, he’s a stumbling block to me. But, in fact, I might encourage him to buy a doughnut just so I can have a bite. Since he, too, should avoid sugar and fat, I then become a stumbling block to him.
Some people are teetotalers, meaning they will never drink alcohol. It’s not that it’s against their moral principles. They realize Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding celebration. But they’re concerned that someone struggling to overcome alcoholism will see them drink such a beverage, follow their example, and sink back into addiction.
In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul wrote about eating food sacrificed to idols. Some believed this was okay, while others considered eating such food an affront to God. Paul said, “Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak” (1 Corinthians 8:9).
Some Christians feel secure in their faith only as they follow rules and regulations while others believe Christ set them free from the law. Rather than state who is right or wrong, Paul reminds us, no matter what we believe, we need to respect those around us and try not to offend them. That will surely bless your heart—and theirs—with J.O.Y.
Shirley Brosius, a contributor to Wholly Loved Ministriesdevotional project, is the author of Sisterhood of Faith: 365 Life-Changing Stories about Women Who Made a Differenceand coauthor of Turning Guilt Trips into Joy Rides, which she wrote with two speaking partners, Kim and Janine. They call themselves Friends of the Heart (www.friendsoftheheart.us) to speak at women’s retreats and events throughout the East. Shirley has written hundreds of articles for newspapers, magazines, and devotional publications. She’s married with two married sons and a daughter waiting in heaven. She loves to read, write and keep up with five grandchildren.
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