But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble. 10 For if others see you—with your “superior knowledge”—eating in the temple of an idol, won’t they be encouraged to violate their conscience by eating food that has been offered to an idol? 11 So because of your superior knowledge, a weak believer for whom Christ died will be destroyed. 12 And when you sin against other believers by encouraging them to do something they believe is wrong, you are sinning against Christ.(1 Corinthians 8:9-12 NLT)
Conscience sensitivity is very relative. Some things may not necessarily be sins, but our consciences may also not permit indulgence in such.
Paul said not all lawful things are needful. This means our conscience also cannot just inform us of unlawful things, but also things that are not needful for our spirit man. As believers, we have been guilty many times of luring other believers into doing things their conscience haven’t permitted them to do. The Bible says “And when you sin against other believers by encouraging them to do something they believe is wrong, you are sinning against Christ” (1 Cor. 8:12-13 NLT).
We need to be careful enough to respect the boundaries of other people. It doesn’t matter what we think we know. It doesn’t matter if we think we know better. It doesn’t matter if we think their belief is in error. We must respect their conscience and boundaries.
So for instance, if one believer considers it immoral to hug the opposite gender, while another believer sees no issue with it, both believers must respect each other’s boundaries. As long as no scripture unequivocally calls a thing a sin, it becomes a matter of conscience, and this conscience, although varying, must be respected so we do not offend God.
Prayer: Father, Please forgive me for every time I violated the conscience of a brother or sister in the faith. Help me to be sensitive, not to lure anyone to violate their conscience.
(To access the entire “The Conscience” mini-series, please press here.)