I was studying 1 Corinthians 8 today and it's like God just opened up a revelation to me, in the midst of His words. I love when God does that. It's a very humbling feeling when God corrects you. It's the kind of humility that doesn't leave guilt and condemnation, it doesn't make you feel worthless or little, no good, or like a failure. It's the kind of humility where you feel like God is putting his hand under your chin, lifting up your face to his eyes and telling you how much he loves you..,
When it comes to correction, and faults, it is strictly a "me me me" issue. Really it is. It's taken me a very long time, back and forth, back and forth, getting it, changing it, revising it, praying about it, and contemplating it, perhaps even rejecting it...before I got it. The Bible is so clear on ministering truth to others, and judging sin...so it's easy to think that it's our job to help others see the things God sees in each of us, including our faults...but really that's not the case. It is very important for us to seek God in all we do. If God's Spirit speaks to us, it's important for us to obey. It's important for us to instruct and correct our children in the ways of the Lord. It's also important for us to stand beside our brothers and sisters in Christ as we walk this life out together. But what happens when we have conflict?
It's laid out in 1 Corinthians 8. I've just not looked deep enough because frankly, we don't really have a lot of issue these days with if we should eat meat or not. I don't hear that being brought up in churches very often at all. But what if we took the "eating meat" out of the context and put in a modern conflict, like "drinking alcohol". Now I am certainly not telling you to change the Bible...so don't read this wrong. What I'm suggesting is to consider the "message" instead of the "topic".
In this scripture, it is very much about "me me me" and yet, it's about being accountable to others. God does that you know...he works on you, so you can impact others around you without you having to say anything to anyone else, you simply obey and God's power is unveiled by your willingness to obey.
So...scripture is telling us here in 1 Corinthians 8 this, in a nutshell. When you become aware that something is wrong in your life, and you are saved and freed from that bondage, you must be careful not to allow your knowledge of this to make you puffed up and judgmental. For instance, if you are a smoker and quit smoking, and now you are walking around coughing and choking and telling everyone how stinky they are... Get it? :) Instead, you must realize that others may not have received the conviction from the Holy Spirit yet, or perhaps they have and are currently resisting or rejecting....because really this seems to be the process within us all. You also must realize that if someone is caught in sin...such as addictions, as a fellow Christian, it is just as important that you are not participating in any behavior that would cause someone who struggles to fall into the temptation. For example, perhaps you believe 1 glass of wine is fine, and are exercising your freedom to enjoy a glass at supper, with your guests, who you may or may not know is a recovering alcoholic.
So bottom line...make listening to God all about "me me me". Don't point fingers at others with "you you you". You may never have to preach to anyone every again, because the heart of God is about love, and once you have love, everything else looks much different.
Bible Study Reference: 1 Corinthians 8, 1 Corinthians 13:2