Liberty (1 Corinthians 8:9)

But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.

1 Corinthians 8:9

The last of the Star Trek movies to feature to original cast — The Undiscovered Country — included a quote that has stuck with me. The President of the Federation is giving a speech and says, “Let us redefine progress to mean that just because we can do a thing it does not follow that we must do that thing.” There is quite a bit of liberty in walking with God, but just because I am free to do a thing, it does not follow that I must do that thing. In point of fact, it has become slavery if I must do it.

Paul expresses a similar thought when he writes to the Corinthian believers that they should not allow their liberty in Christ to stumble their fellow believers. To be free to do a thing means that we are equally free to choose not to do that thing.

As I walk with God, He lets me know that some things are not good for me — certain movies and music and books and whatnot just is not healthy for my soul. Other believers have no compunctions about these things and that is fine. They are free to have those things or not as God gives them grace. If, however, some liberty I have — drinking alcohol, for example — causes another believer to stumble, then I should choose not to partake. It is not that I am in bondage to anything, rather that I am free to prevent my brother from stumbling.

I do not know what liberties I may have that could cause others to stumble, but let me be mindful and think of others that my freedom not become a cause of stumbling.


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