A friend and his wife were considering traveling to Alaska for a trip that the husband had long dreamed of taking. He kept talking about how great it would be to stay in a log cabin without electricity, to hunt moose, and drive a dog team instead of a car. "If we decided to live there permanently, away from civilization, what would you miss the most?" he asked his wife. She replied, "You."
“All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. 24 Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.” 1 Corinthians 10:23-24
It seems like so many of today’s problems are the result of not understanding the consequences of our behavior. Well, I guess that was the problem in the garden, so long ago. There was temptation, then a decision had to be made, and finally, the consequences of that decision. Too many parents do not allow their children to experience the consequences of their behavior and get a little riled up when the teacher tries to do so.
Paul was explaining that there are some things that are lawful, but they are not helpful. You might have a right to do it, but it does not edify, it does not build up the other person. We might think, “Wait a minute, this is my life and I’m free to live it as I choose!” Yes, you are free to do that and “that” may not be wrong, but if it causes someone to stumble, then you should not do it. And we want to say, “That’s their problem!” Paul wrote: “Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.”
God’s Word defines love in 1 Corinthians 13. Love is putting another’s well-being before our own. We need to ask ourselves, “What will the consequences be if I do this or don’t do that?” “Will that action or lack of action help or hurt someone else?” Asking those questions is a big step toward spiritual maturity. Are you moving from “I’m free to do as I please?” to “How will my actions or words effect my neighbor?” Lawful is great, but what’s better than love?