You Are Your Brother's Keeper

            You Are Your Brother’s Keeper 
1 Corinthians 8:1-6 

In our Christian life we are given great freedom, yet there are situations that may arise with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ where we will need to rethink that freedom.1 Corinthians 8 states instructions on Christian freedom, specifically on food sacrificed to Idols. 

The chapter begins with Paul telling us that “we know that we all possess knowledge but that knowledge puffs up, and that love builds up (verse 1)”. What exactly does this mean? The bottom line is that love is more significant than knowledge. We can only obtain God’s knowledge by loving Him. Knowledge apart from love makes one prideful. James 3: 17 says, “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” 

Love is thought of as a feeling or an emotion but in reality, love is a choice and an action. God is the source of our love. He loved us enough to send His own Son to die on the Cross for us, mere sinners. Jesus is that example we ought to follow because everything He did in life and death was out of unconditional love. 

1 John 4: 8 reads, "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” Notice John specifically says here that “God is love” not “Love is God.” This world that we temporary live in has taken the word love and misinterpreted it to mean that love is just about feeling good and that throwing away any principles or morals that one has in order to obtain such “love” is okay but it is not by any means. Real Love is like God, who is holy, unbiased and flawless. If we truly know God, we will love as He does. 

Paul had the liberty to eat meat offered to idols because he knew that there was only one true God and that idols were nothing. In Paul’s mind, eating meat offered to the idols was neither right nor wrong but not all believers felt that way. There were people that believed that the meat was defiled by the idols and therefore it should not be eaten. Paul knew he had to be careful, because his actions could influence those people to eat the meat, violating their conscience and causing them to stumble in their faith. Paul had genuine concern over these believers which kept him from exercising his freedom in its entirety. 

Paul is saying that we are not only responsible for ourselves but for one another. Remember when Cain asked in Genesis 4:9 “Am I my brother’s keeper?” well here, Paul is insisting that you are your brother’s keeper! 

In Corinth at the time, one of the debated issues was “should the meat offered to the idols be eaten.” For Paul, it was important how the Church was responding to this topic as a family. He knew that there were Corinthians that were arrogant but Paul rebuked the pride and insisted on love conquering. 

A theologian once said “If we do not show love to one another, the world has a right to question whether Christianity is true.” Always strive to be humble and love one another, it is our Christian duty. Christian Freedom is tied to and inseparable from Christian responsibility. Some actions may seem perfectly all right for us to do, but may harm a Christian brother or sister that is weak or young in the faith. As they learn more about the Christian life, it is important that we take that into consideration and not do anything that would cause them to stumble or question the path they have decided to take. 

Christian life is not about what you know, how strong you are or how much freedom you have. Your Christian life is really summed up by how much you love. You are your brother’s keeper.