To Eat or Not To Eat

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Is it alright to eat food sacrificed to idols?This is a dilemma for which I am glad I do not have to face because I grew up in a Christian home and married into a Christian family.

Even so, I can imagine it is not an easy choice to make for those who want to stand firm on their Christian faith yet do not want to upset their parents who practice ancestor worship.

Paul taught the Corinthian church some principles regarding this dilemma – to eat or not to eat food sacrificed to idols. (read 1 Corinthians 10:14-33)

Practical tip to follow: Eat for others.vv. 14-22 is a passage about our Christian faith. It starts with “Therefore.” Why therefore? “Therefore” implies it’s a conclusion from something in the previous verses. vv.1-13 Paul taught them to resist temptation – the sin of idolatry v. 7 and immorality etc.

1 Corinthians 10:14 Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.

Principle 1: Do not eat food sacrificed to idols because it is not fitting for us Christians to partake of the Lord’s supper and at the same time eat an idol’s feast. (see v. 15-22)

Principle 2: Eat to glorify God and edify others. (read vv. 23-33)
23 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. 24 No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.

Most important principle is this:

31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32 Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— 33 even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.

Love God and love neighbours.
Application:When I am with Christians, we as a Christian family do not eat food offered to idols because it is a form of idolatry. How can we take communion to remember Jesus’ blood and body on one hand and eat an idol’s feast on the other?

When I am with non-Christians, I eat without raising the questions of conscience v. 25 (this conscience that says I must not partake of the idols’ feast and the Lord’s supper at the same time.)

When non-Christians invite me to eat with them, I eat whatever is set before me. I do not need to ask whether the food has been sacrificed to idols. I eat with thankfulness for the food set before me, for the hospitality of my non-Christian host. I eat without raising the questions according to my own conscience.

But when the host or someone at the table tells me that the food is offered to idols, then I refrain from eating for the sake of that person who told me. Why? For the sake of the one who told me and for the sake of conscience – that it is not proper to eat food sacrificed to idols.

To eat or not to eat? Will I cause my neighbour to go against his conscience? Then better I do not eat. Will I glorify God? If yes, I will eat.

Back to the home dilemma: Honour and obey parents (non-Christian parents)? Or not eat offered to idol? What do you think?

Perhaps (theoretically) I would eat because I want to obey their wishes. To myself, anyway, according to their conscience, there is nothing wrong with eating.

Or I might not eat saying that it is against my Christian faith to do so. This is the hard choice that many friends made – to the ire of their parents and they were ostracised and persecuted or even kicked out of their homes for their ‘disobedience.’

So which is which?Whether I eat or drink or whatever I do, I need to do for the glory of God. I would eat so that my non-believing parents would not say that my God teaches me to disobey parents. I would eat because I want to please my non-believing parents that someday, they may be saved.

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