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. - 1 Corinthians 8:1-2
Some of the Corinthians were scared to eat food from the butcher shops that had been offered to idols, and Paul is writing to help Christians realize that as long as we’re grateful, we’ve got the freedom to eat whatever we want. But there’s a complicating factor: the ‘progressives’ are judging those who are afraid to eat the meat.
What happens when you see someone stuck in a religious mindset that you’ve grown out of? For most of us it is so easy for us to roll our eyes and sigh, “Back when I was immature I used to think that way.”
Paul addresses this very real, very important aspect of being part of the Body of Christ. Namely, that people’s spiritual journeys are not all the same, and that some of us have grown in our awareness of spiritual freedom at a different rate than others. Paul realizes those of us who call ourselves ‘progressive’ face a peculiar temptation: contempt. We think of ourselves as enlightened and others as ignorant, old-fashioned, or stuck in their ways. That’s what Paul calls being ‘puffed up’ with knowledge (his way of saying, “You think you’re something special but you’re full of crap”).
Instead, Paul invites the progressives in Corinth to grow up. Essentially, he’s saying “If you are so wise and mature, it’ll show in how well you love people who are different than you.” The true sign of having real spiritual knowledge is that you love those who don’t have it and that you patiently serve those who are where you used to be before you were ‘woke.’
So think about this for yourself: where do you find yourself judging others beads they are not as ‘enlightened’ as you are? Ask yourself if, according to what scripture says here, if you’re really all that enlightened if you are not loving well. And talk with the greatest lover of all, the wisest and most knowledgeable of all - Jesus - about how to become more loving like him.