Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that “We all possess knowledge.” But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. But whoever loves God is known by God.1 Corinthians 8:1-3 NIV
In the world of the early church, idolatry impacted much of life, including the meat sold at the market. This meat could well have been part of a sacrifice to an idol. The sacrifice would consume some of the meat. But the pagan priests could sell the rest of it in the market. Many believers faced a challenge: whether or not they could eat the meat used in worshiping an idol. While some saw no problem with it, others felt it was wrong. And this issue of eating meat had become quite controversial in Corinth. Paul told them there was no absolute right or wrong to this, but it was a matter of conscience. In this case, love was more important than knowledge
The biggest problem with this controversy was that those on opposite sides of the issue were not acting in love. Each side “knew” what was right and looked down on those they perceived as wrong. And their supposed knowledge of the subject had puffed them up.
Eating meat sacrificed to an idol is no longer an issue in most of the world. But there are still many things that divide us as believers. All too often, we look down on those who differ from us. We know what is right. And if the other side were open-minded and studied the Bible, they would agree. We have become puffed up by our knowledge and fail to act in love.
Please do not get me wrong here. Correct beliefs are important, and we should never compromise what we believe to be true. However, even while we hold firmly to the truth as we know it, we should always act in love. As Paul said, while knowledge puffs up, love builds up. It should be the foundation of all of our interactions with others.