Happy Diwali

I stole this article from Dr. Stanley’s post. Should clarify about the sharing of sweets.

The festival of Diwali is celebrated all over India during this season by Hindus. Exchange of sweets is a salient feature of this festival. Over 80% of Indians worship idols. When invited to join us for our birthday parties and Christmas dinners, they gladly join us and share the food we serve after we offer thanksgiving prayer. But when they invite us to their festival dinners, we hesitate. Some believers eat freely whatever is served, while others are apprehensive. Apostle Paul addressed these issues while writing to the young Churches. In his first Epistle to the Corinthians, he discussed this subject at length in Chapters 8 and 10. Here is what we learn—

Strictly speaking, idols are nothing (8:4; Isa 37:19; Jer 16:20; Gal 4:8). As such any food offered to them cannot be contaminated. But to the idol worshipper, the food becomes sacred when offered to idols. No Christian can accept food from an idol-worshipper if it is given in this sense or with this understanding (10:20,21,27). We can politely refuse it with a smile. If they still insist, we can receive it but later quietly give it away to a poor person.

A Christian under no circumstance can join a dinner inside “an idol’s temple” (8:10). This public act will dishonour Christ and discourage new Christians who have denounced idols to serve the living God.

When invited to a family dinner of an idol-worshipper we can go and eat “asking no questions” (10:27).

We may freely buy and eat “whatever is sold asking no questions,” because the earth and all its fullness belong to the Lord (10:25,26). All animals and birds and plants belong to the Lord, and they are for us to enjoy because we belong to Him! Everything is sanctified by the Word of God and prayer of thanksgiving (1 Tim 4:4,5).

The underlying principle that Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians 8 and 10 and Romans 14 is that no knowledge of the truth or liberty in Christ should be used to “wound the weak conscience” of our brothers and sisters or to “become a stumbling block” to them (1 Cor 8:9,12). While there is nothing wrong, in the absolute sense, in eating whatever is served to us, it is a sin if our eating makes a brother to stumble (1 Cor 8:13,11). Let’s do all that’s possible, of course within Biblical boundaries, to bless our Indian brothers and sisters and bring them to our sweet Jesus!


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