There was a big question in Paul’s day regarding food. Specifically, could you eat meat that had been sacrificed to idols? And could you attend the meals where this meat was served?
I’ve been trying to think of a modern day equivalent and it’s extremely tough. First, I wondered about Super Bowl parties or tailgating parties. People might be worshipping their favorite athletes, favorite teams, favorite food, “the god of their belly,” the TV, etc. People today would never say that, of course, because we’re too sophisticated to admit it. But I’ve heard of people who sleep in their favorite team’s jerseys, who have gotten into fights with another person for talking trash about their favorite team, who have lost relationships with friends or family because of their dedication to the team or sport. To me, that sounds like worship. But who knows? Is it worship? It’s God’s call not mine. And should you feel guilty for eating meat at a Super Bowl or tailgate party? I honestly don’t think so. So maybe it’s a crappy example.
The other example for modern day that I wondered about was the whole vegan vs. vegetarian vs. carnivore debate. I totally understand not supporting the exploitation and abuse of animals. I’m not a fan of that either. But I’m also not 100% sure if eating meat was ever a banned activity by God. He did put certain dietary restrictions on the Israelites, a lot of which were for health reasons to keep them set apart and functioning at a high level. But He totally allowed, and even encouraged, some meat on the grill. It was a pleasing aroma to God’s nostrils in the Old Testament and I must admit, grilling out is a pleasing aroma to mine as well.
So, do we have a modern day equivalent? I don’t think so.
But the principle behind the whole debate is this:
With freedom comes responsibility.
Let’s not do something that would trip up another believer.