1 Corinthians 10:23
‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’—but not everything is constructive.
The only person I can truly know well enough to judge is myself, and I pray that others would not be so quick to judge me or other believers, particularly over things that are nonessential. There are many grey areas in the Christian’s daily walk, and we do a lot of things in life where the Bible is silent. I believe that where the Bible is silent, so must I be. Unless it is clear in Scripture, I can’t be clear. I imagine most of us would do a lot of things differently if we knew that nobody would judge us. Should there be a difference in our lives and what we’d do if we knew no one would be judging us? How do you feel about this?
Seeking Others’ Good
If we are only interested in ourselves, we won’t care what others think about our behavior and actions. But the Bible teaches we’re not to seek out our own good alone but the good of others (1 Corinthians 10:24). One example is if we invite others to a meal and feel we have the freedom to drink beer or wine but there are some who struggle with the use of alcohol, it is better to not serve alcohol with the meal. We don’t want to give an occasion for anyone to stumble (1 Corinthians 10:32). If you invite a brother or sister to dinner and they believe it is wrong to drink alcohol, they’re former alcoholics, or they have someone in their family who struggles with alcohol and therefore abstain, then why not just serve something else to drink? We should think of others, even if it inconveniences us. You may have a right do to it in your own conscience, but think about what others may believe.
The other end of the spectrum for not giving occasion for anyone to stumble is to make sure we are not the ones who are offended and make sure they know about it. We are commanded to please our neighbors for their own good and to build them up (Romans 15:2) because Christ accepted us, so why shouldn’t we accept others (Romans 15:7)? They might do something that is objectionable to us, and in our own conscience we wouldn’t choose to do it, but that doesn’t mean they should believe as we do about things where the Bible is silent. The point is that each of us should be convinced in our own minds (Romans 14:5) and them not in ours. So the questions are what would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you, and should there be a difference?
A Closing Prayer
Father, I know You don’t judge by outward appearances (1 Samuel 16:7, John 7:24), and neither should I. Help me to accept others in areas where I differ from them and with the grace to allow them freedom in things where Your Word is silent, and in Jesus’ holy name I pray.
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