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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Small Catechism – part 217

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From the Word: But be careful that this right of yours does not somehow become a cause of sin to the weak. (1 Corinthians 8:9)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Confession of Sin

What sins should we confess?

Before God we should acknowledge ourselves guilty of all kinds of sins, even those of which we are not aware, as we do in the Lord’s Prayer. To the confessor (pastor), however, we should confess only those sins which we know and which trouble us.

Pulling It Together: Sometimes, it is when we imagine ourselves most right, that we may be very wrong. In today’s larger reading (1 Cor 8:1–13), Paul discusses Christian freedoms or rights, the liberties and privileges we have in Christ. He uses eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols as an example. A Christian may eat these foods without damaging her own conscience. However, doing so may damage a weaker believer’s conscience. So, we must be careful that our freedoms do not cause a weaker sister or brother in the faith to stumble, or even fall away from faith. We may be looking to the grace of Christ while they are still looking at laws.

This is tricky business, a fine line of exercising our rights while protecting the fragile faith of another. When we do not consider the latter, we sin, as we have become the cause of their sin. In self-examination, we ought to discover such truths about ourselves—and confess these sins too. We may be right, that these are Christian freedoms, while at the same time, be wrong in exercising them sometimes because they are a cause of sin for others.

Prayer: Open my eyes and heart, Lord, that I may be as concerned for others as I am for myself. Amen.

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