Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Liberty Limits

It seemed like I was constantly getting into fights.  As a ten or eleven-year-old boy I was not aggressive, abrasive or argumentative.  I thought I was a nice guy.  Older students at my elementary school, however, continued to pick on me.  It didn't help that I had not lost a fight.  It seemed to be a challenge to them.
This time was different.   A boy I knew and his older sister were on their way home from school.  Without any provocation he insulted me and challenge me to fight.   After some unpleasant conversation his older sister stepped forward and said,  ”If you hurt my little brother I will give you a licken’.”  My parents taught me to never touch a girl and to act respectfully toward women.  Besides that the girl was about a foot taller and quite a lot heavier than I was.   It was time to retreat.
There are times when we may feel that we are right and want to push our Christian liberty in the presence of a brother who is restricted by rules and regulations.   Paul indicated that this may “provoke the Lord to jealousy” so that He will take up the defense of our brother against us.  (1 Cor 10:19-23)  That is a situation we want to avoid.  In our desire to please God at all times and in all ways we will do our best to not damage the conscience of our brother by our freedom in Christ.
In like manner, Christian leaders must remember that the people we are working with are God's creation.  Whether they are serving Him or not, they are deeply loved by Him.  Therefore it is wise for us to remember to never treat others as objects but rather as people of privilege.  We never want to harm the self image, self confidence, or the conscience of those we try to lead.  People are always more important that programs, positions, and popularity.  Just because "we can" doesn't mean that "we should". 
Dr. Gayle Woods

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