The liberty which love requires

“Why should my liberty be subject to the judgment of someone else’s conscience?” (1 Cor. 10.29) Taufspruch of the Will to Knowledge; anlässlich ihres Tauftages, 2017.

It is about whether one should eat food which has been offered to idols. St Paul’s main point is: whatever, eat it, who cares, neither idols nor the meat sacrificed to them have any magical properties, that is all nothing, in essence it is food and you should see it as such. However, you may find yourself with someone who has not yet liberated themselves from this meat’s cultic associations and when you eat with them, join them in not eating this meat.

At first sight, this seems a contradiction, doesn’t it? Doesn’t not eating for the sake of another’s conscience mean precisely that I am subjecting my liberty to the judgment of their conscience?

St Paul’s liberty is a liberty which enables him to enslave himself to others’ conscience without subjecting himself to the judgment of their conscience. For him, it is not a matter which binds him. It is no matter to him to protest the issue or not. He makes nothing of nothing, only urging, over a friendly meal, that we must dare to exercise the liberty which love requires of us, which liberty judges good and bad conscience.

 

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