Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. 1 Corinthians 8:1-2

Paul is saying if someone comes to us with a problem; and it doesn’t really matter whether their problem is to do with food sacrificed to idols, or something more relevant to our culture; having the right answer is not enough. We might be well qualified and be able to give the right doctrinally correct response in any given circumstance, but that is not enough. If we respond by simply telling someone what they ought to do, it is not enough.

The other part of our response needs to be love. Do we genuinely care about the person we are giving advice to? Or are we only interested in how wise and clever our advice sounds? Paul tells us knowledge alone puffs us up and makes us proud. If we genuinely want to help someone we need to do it in love.

Selwyn Hughes often said, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” One of the best ways we show we care is by listening. Mostly people can work out for themselves what they should or shouldn’t do. What people really need is a sounding board so they can talk through the issues with someone who is prepared to listen objectively and then allow the person to come to their own conclusions.

The Amplified Bible puts it like this: Yet mere knowledge causes people to be puffed up…, but love…edifies and builds up and encourages one to grow (to his full stature). If we respond with love, not information, we encourage others to grow into their full potential.