I was reading in 1 Corinthians 8:13 and the verse made me think of the often visited conversation on drinking alcohol. Clearly we have the freedom to do it and the word makes constant reference to drinking wine, but the questions become: is it beneficial? and is it causing others to stumble?
This is the verse that got me thinking:
Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.
This whole section in chapter 8 gives a great parallel so I’m going to back up a bit and give the full parallel. Paul’s saying since the idol is powerless (v4) the food offered to it is harmless (v8) to you UNLESS through a previous association with idols you’re eating the food and essentially esteeming it as something offered to idols (v7). It is sin to eat knowing you’re with a brother who has an issue with it (v10-12). In 13 his point is simply that even though he personally has the freedom to eat it, he doesn’t simply to keep from causing others to stumble. Because as he says in v12, the sin is against Christ, not the brother.
So the parallel I see here is if someone struggled with alcohol and it is a stumbling block for them, they should not do it – it is sin for them. Though for others who have no issue with it it is not sin (unless done to drunkenness obviously). But for leaders (defined as anyone who wants their life to be something other believers can look to as an example), you should choose to forgo certain freedoms for the benefit of others who might be caused to stumble by seeing you partake in the freedom.
Just some food for thought!