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Liberty to Let it Alone

Some years ago when I was preaching in Detroit, I met a former Muslim from India who had been brought to know the Lord Jesus Christ. When I was chatting with this brother, Mr. Ali by name, a young girl came by passing out sandwiches. She said, “Won’t you have a sandwich?”

“What kind are they?” he asked.

“There is fresh pork and ham.”

“Have you any beef?”

“No, I do not.”

“Have you any lamb?”




“Thank you, my dear young lady, but I won’t take any.”

She said, “Why, Mr. Ali, you surprise me. Are you so under law that you cannot eat pork? Don’t you know that a Christian is at liberty to eat any kind of meat?”

“I am at liberty to eat it,” he answered, “but I am also at liberty to let it alone. You know I was brought up a strict Muslim. My old father, nearly eighty years of age now, is still a Muslim. Every three years I go back to India to render an account of my business, of which my father is really the head, and to visit with the folks at home. Always when I get home I know my father will ask, ‘Son, have those infidels taught you to eat their filthy hog meat yet?’ ‘No, Father,’ I will say. ‘Pork has never passed my lips.’ Then I can go in and have the opportunity to preach Christ to them. If I took one of your sandwiches, the next time I go home I would have to answer my father’s question honestly and as a result I would not be able to go in and preach the gospel.”

—Condensed from Addresses on the First Epistle to the Corinthians by H. A. Ironside.