Personal Choices by Bro. Andy Downes
1 Corinthians 8:9-11
9. But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to them that are weak. 10. For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;11. And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?”
If only every situation or decision in life carried a tag declaring it “RIGHT” or “WRONG” how easy would it be for the Christian to make decisions. Or if when we were about to make a bad decision, warning lights would flash or sirens would go off. How wonderful that would be.
The process involved in making decisions is an ability that God reserved only for the highest of his creation and one that should be cherished. With this ability, we make major decisions like who to marry, what profession to enter and where we should live. We use it as well to make minor decisions like what food to eat, what clothes to wear or what brand of soap to buy.
Sometimes however these personal choices can create conflicts or have unintended consequences. For example, one Christian might see nothing wrong with playing a sport on Sunday while another may see this as sacrilegious. Someone may see nothing wrong with ladies wearing pants to church while another could find this totally unacceptable.
When the apostle Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, he was forced to address similar issues which were causing conflict and division amongst them. Some members were at serious odds on the eating of certain meats and this had led to division. Paul’s response was pretty straightforward … although something may be a personal choice that does not in itself displease God, if by doing it we can causes another person pain, suffering distress or causes them to fall, we should choose not to do it. Paul was, in fact, reminding them that as a functioning part of the body of Christ our personal choice can sometimes have unintended consequences. It is therefore essential that we critique our choices as this gives us the opportunity to determine whether our personal choices are in line with what would bring honour to God. At the end of the day, that should be the desire of every child of God.
We have an obligation to ensure that our personal choices not only does no harm to our relationship with God but they do not hinder or deter others in their walk with God.