The Bible Edge
Everyone needs an Edge, Believers can have the Bible Edge
I Corinthians 8:9
But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.
In every relationship there is a thread of influence. Sometimes this influence is strong, sometimes almost nonexistent, but it is there, nonetheless. Most often when thinking about influence it is looked at from the side of the one being influenced. Today, think about the other side of the coin. Think about the influencer.
Today that word “influencer” has a new meaning. It is used now as a person on one of the social media platforms on the internet, but before the internet was even dreamed about, individuals have influenced others over the millennia of time. In the verse above, the Apostle Paul is looking at influence from the standpoint of the influencer. From this simple verse take note of three things.
One: You have liberty. Liberty in our free society and liberty through Christ. Much could be written about this right of liberty, and much could be debated about the extent and meaning of it. But of this truth there can be no debate: Paul stated clearly in this portion of Scripture that the members of the church at Corinth had liberty.
Two: Others who enjoy the same right of liberty as you can be weak. In your liberty you may be strong; always maintaining the boundaries of propriety. Others are otherwise; they are weak.
Three: If not careful, your liberty may become a stumblingblock to those who are weak. Paul is dealing with this thing of eating meat that had been offered to an idol. This may not be an issue today, but the principle is still alive. In any, and every, thing the stronger must consider their liberty in relation to the weaker, lest they cause the weaker to fall, or stumble over a block put in their way. The emphasis is on the stronger curtailing their liberty to accommodate the weaker in their weakness.
This type of teaching flies directly in the face of, and absolutely destroys, this modern-day notion of “My life is my own, my decisions affect no one else.” This is demonstrably wrong. Both on the surface and way down deep. It is true, each one of us influences others to one extent or another.
So, influencers beware. Because three verses later this warning is added: But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. (I Corinthians 8:12) Want an edge in your personal relationships? Be careful how you influence others, especially the weak. The Lord wants you to have an edge; a Bible Edge on this matter of influence, for like everything else, it has rules that govern its use. Learn the rules and use your liberty wisely.
William Howe, Ph.D.