“Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats” (v20). Paul cautioned those who felt free to eat everything (even foods considered unclean in the Old Testament) to be careful not to urge others to make the same choice. Each one of us must remain sensitive to our own consciences (v14,23). Those who are spiritually strong have the responsibility to protect the weak (v1) rather than insist on total freedom (v17).
“So then let us pursue what makes for peace and mutual upbuilding” (v19). Rather than causing pain to others by our “freedom,” love calls us to understanding and empathy.