Love trumps knowledge! As Christians we love God, who is the source of love. God fills us with His love that overflows to others. When we love others we don’t want them to stumble and sin. That’s the heart behind this passage. If eating a kebab (which is probably halal and therefore sacrificed meat), or a pork sausage (which would offend Jewish believers), or prawns (for other Jewish believers), would cause others to stumble and sin, then don’t eat it for their sake, at least while they can see you!
Here’s how the argument flows. Paul knows that under the new covenant there are no foods we are not allowed to eat. But not every believer knows that yet.
When we start getting some knowledge on a subject, we start out thinking we know a lot about it. As we know more, we realise actually how little we do know about the subject. I have started guitar lessons again and I thought I understood chords and scales, but as I have learnt about “modes“, my mind has been blown and I have realised I know nothing!
Paul argues two things about idols
i) they don’t exist
ii) the only god is God
Therefore there is no real problem with kebabs. But if someone’s level of understanding makes them worried about the halal nature of most doner kebabs, then to eat one is going against their conscience and therefore sin. To eat one in front of someone like that will cause them to stumble too!
Right now I’m craving a doner kebab! But if that will cause you an issue, I will refrain!