The Best I Can
“All things are lawful, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful, but not all things build up.” 1 Corinthians 10.23 While this looks so much like, “I can do whatever I want”, the sentiment is more complicated than that.
First, recognize this statement is written on the heels of “Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?” Of course, we are not stronger than God. And the conversation is about holding to Him and keeping the faith, even when being tempted. Because we have Jesus to make us righteous in the eyes of God, we are free from sin, the law, and any other man-made requirements. But what are the boundaries of that kind of freedom?
According to the writer, our freedoms find their fences when they are not encouraging or edifying. Wait. As long as I keep covenant with God, I can do anything I want, but I have to pay attention to others? Yup. The very next verse states as much. “Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.”
What does that have to do with me? This question seems logical. If I am free from sin, from a law of ordinances (Moses’ law), and man, why am I to pay attention to you? What do you have to do with me? At this point I hear scripture ringing in my ears… but which one? Who does that sound like? Demons. As Jesus confronts the demon(s) Legion their response to Jesus’ commands is “What have you to do with us?”
No, we are not going around casting out demons, but your intercession for your neighbor may be what encourages them in their own covenant keeping. Your kind word, prayer, love, etc… may be the thing they needed to cast out a temptation. “Just a small, kindly deed that may cheer another is the work God has planned for you!”
May we always be looking to help each other with temptations. Are you strong in your faith? Take the offensive! Help a neighbor out! Always be looking to be of benefit to someone’s soul. Jesus did this. He was always surrounded by people less Holy than Himself. His attitude, even while in Heaven, was not of judgment, but of love and helpfulness. One last song quote, “Each day I’ll do a golden deed, by helping those who are in need…”