A few days ago, I saw a friend post the statement "food is not a moral issue." I did not comment on it, but have been thinking about it ever since. While I agree that food shouldn't be a moral issue, I believe that it certainly can be. I began thinking of the many verses that specify the kinds of foods that were to be eaten and how to prepare them.
For someone who has never used food to fill the voids and hurts and life, then no, food is not a moral issue. However, some turn to food rather than sex, alcohol, drugs and the like to ease the blows of life. Ironically, this only makes things worse, but still, emotional eating is commonplace. The problem is we need food to survive, so it then becomes the types of foods we are reaching for.
When we are angry, hurt, frustrated, depressed, anxious, or stressed, and we turn to food rather than God's truth, then yes, food has become a moral issue. I do not expect everyone to share my views, and that is ok. But I also know that if a friend is choosing not to eat certain foods (sugar, starches, fried foods, etc) then in order to be a good friend, I too should abstain from them. 1 Corinthians 8:7-9 says, "But not everyone possesses this knowledge. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak." In many ways, food has become the idol for the hurting and lonely, and we would do well to walk alongside of them with grace and love in their journey.
Romans 14:19-21 says, "Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall."
Maybe for you, a dessert plate does not cause any temptation or anxiety. That is wonderful. For some of us, a dessert plate easily leads to overconsumption and a loss of control. The negative voices begin, the downward spiral into self-hatred begins, and the focus is no longer on Christ and all the He is, but instead on ourselves and all that we are not. It is often a fine line that separates eating to nourish our bodies and eating to suppress our emotions.
We ought to be walking in freedom, but until the chains of bondage are broken, show mercy, show grace, and show love to one another. And if you know someone is struggling with the role food plays in their life, refrain from offering that dessert plate.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:22-24