My Freedom, Your Problem!

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Reflect

In response to a second wave of coronavirus cases, the Victorian government has made it mandatory for people in Melbourne and adjacent areas to wear face masks when out in public. While most people probably accept these new requirements, there are always some dissenting voices.

In one Facebook post, a woman said she wouldn’t be wearing a facemask because it was ‘My body, my choice.’ I’m not sure if she lives in one of the hot spots or not, but the implication is that my freedom and personal rights are more important than those of others.

Yes, Christ came to set us free, but our freedom has never been an open invitation to do what we want. With freedom, comes responsibility.

The believers in the first century church had questions about their new-found freedom. Did they still have to follow Jewish laws about food? Did non-Jews have to be circumcised? Though we may face different issues today, the underlying principle is the same. What are the limits on our freedom? In response to the question about food offered to idols, the apostle Paul provides some sensible guidelines.

“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. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others. (vv. 23–24)

Later in that passage, Paul encourages us to do everything for God’s glory and not cause anyone to stumble because of our actions. Why was he so intent on seeking the good of others? So that they may be saved (v. 33). Paul was talking about the salvation of souls, but in the current world crisis, our actions can literally help to save lives. Surely this is a time to temporarily put aside some of our small freedoms for the good of humanity.

Pray

Lord, thank you for the incredible freedom we have in Christ. Help us to be responsible stewards of all you have given us and to work towards the good of others, for your glory. Amen.

Ponder

Q1       Have you had any of your freedoms curtailed during the pandemic? How did that make you feel? How did you respond?

Q2       Read Galatians 5:13–14 and Romans 15:1–2. How might those verses apply to the current situation?

Photo by Anestiev on Pixabay

Scriptures from the NIV Bible. Click here for the copyright notice.

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6 Responses

  1. Well expressed, Nola. So often it is about “me” and not considering others. We are also told in several places that the powers that be are ordained by God and such like words and also that we are to pray for those in authority. Thanks for sharing. We have three families and many friends in Victoria and our love and prayers are with them especially.

    1. Thanks Heather. I have a lot of friends and family in Melbourne too, and it saddens me that some people still don’t seem to “get it” and do the wrong thing. Definitely a time to be praying for our cities and leaders. A good reminder to consider those in authority too. Thanks for commenting 🙂

  2. Not being able to catch up with my children was hard, then after a few weeks I was missing interaction with my friends. I was able to watch our church services online, however after several weeks I came to realise that Church is more than the Message: it is the fellowship and conversations with other Christians over the cup’o’tea after the Church Service. The worst timing in all of this is that my mum has just transitioned into an Aged Care facility which went into Lock Down two weeks after she moved in. The good in all of this? – Oh how I will appreciate freedom of movement, hugging my children, socialising and dining out with family/friends, and meeting together in Worship with my church family followed by Christ centred conversations over a cuppa after the service.

    1. Thanks for sharing that, Susan. Yes the isolation certainly is difficult for many at the moment, especially those separated from family. That’s sad that your Mum moved into an aged care facility just a couple of weeks before lockdown. My parents moved into an aged care facility last September, so they were well and truly settled by the time it all started. They were in total lockdown for 5 and a half weeks which was really hard, and they’ve had restricted visiting since then. But although it’s certainly not ideal, it’s good to know they’re safe. Will pray your Mum settles in well and makes some new friends quickly. We’re lucky that our church has been streaming since it first started and they’ve just started face-to-face services again, though people have to leave quickly with no morning tea. Will be good to get back to ‘normal’. You’re right that a lot of church happens in those informal moments. Thanks for commenting. Take care.

  3. Hi Nola thanks for posting this – a great reminder of our responsibilities – especially that our actions should not be a stumbling block to others. I find it quite hilarious actually when people say requiring them to wear a mask challenges their freedoms. When you think about it – we all wear seat belts – why – because we know it saves lives. We all wear clothes when we go outside and don’t consider it violates our rights to accept this requirement. We live in community and generally accept community collective responsibilities and because we do, we enjoy other freedoms. If we had to regulate every part of our lives because of the people who selfishly want to ‘protect their personal freedoms’ – it would be even more restrictive. When you think about it, the majority of people accept they have a responsibility to their ‘neighbour’ – and I thank God I benefit from that. My neighbours – even those I do not know – generally care about whether I am in trouble or sick – they show they care in so many ways, not least of which is wearing a mask in a pandemic! What do you think? We are SO blessed to live in Australia.

    1. Hi Teri – Thanks for that. You’ve given some great examples there. We are so lucky we live in Australia. So many people around the world are fighting for genuine freedoms that we enjoy. It seems such a small thing to forego a few little freedoms for the good of so many. They’re just temporary inconveniences. Most people are doing the right things, but there are still those who buck against anything that restricts their choice. Maybe I spend too much time on social media – LOL I appreciate your comments.

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