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.
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.