"All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify." 1 Cor 10:23
Contextually speaking, Paul was making a case regarding the ability to eat any foods. During these tumultuous times, there was much controversy about this and other things as people transitioned from observing the law of Moses to living under grace. People had been under a set of rules for thousands of years that involved not eating meat that was unclean or had been sacrificed to idols. Many had chosen to eat no meat at all in an effort to avoid even the possibility of committing such a sin. This was a hot issue at the time because both Jews and Gentiles were converting to Christianity and they came from polar opposite belief systems. Jews worshipped the one true God and followed the Law while Gentiles often served pagan deities without the restrictions of Judaism. This, then, caused some of the controversy (See Romans 14 and 15).
The twofold point that is being made is that 1) all that God has created that serves as food is suitable to be eaten and 2) that in an effort to help preserve the faith of a brother or to attract one to Christ, it is okay, even recommended to suspend the liberty we have that we might accomplish the will of God.
Likewise today, much is lawful to us in which we need not participate because of the possible effect on those seeking God. One example would be the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Though much can and typically is said about this issue, consuming a fermented beverage is not a sin (as long as you do not do so to excess). However, there are those outside the body that may observe us enjoying libations and immediately decide that Christianity is not for them because we are hypocritical. Clearly this stance comes from a lack of knowledge, but perception is reality. So in this instance, it is lawful for us to consume but not profitable for the cause of Christ.
Beloved we have liberty in Christ. He came that we might have life and that more abundantly. We have though, the power and perhaps even the responsibility to set that abundant liberty aside for the accomplishment of the greater good. Show first then teach.
Loving Like Jesus,