1 Corinthians 10:32-33 – Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I seek to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.
Lord Jesus, Paul sets a high bar for balancing love and freedom. I feel the tension. I rejoice, Lord God, in the absolute freedom that you’ve given me. There is nothing that I owe to you. Your Son, Jesus, has paid the whole debt that I owed. He was punished in my place and for my sin. He has completely satisfied your anger and appeased your wrath. There is nothing I owe you. I am absolutely free now to live without rules and compulsion. I am free and it is permissible to me to do anything that is not sinful. I can do anything, anything at all, that you have not called sin. But, Lord God, this does not mean that I will. Though I may be free to do, this does not mean that it is loving to do it. Love for you and love for all the other people in my life tempers my freedom. I’m thinking about the people with whom I go to church. I want them to be saved and I want what is for their advantage. I’m thinking about the people who don’t go to a Christian church, who have been offended by the Christian church before, who have no idea what Christianity is all about. I want them to know Jesus and to be saved by him. I especially want what is for their good and salvation. Lord God, this introduces a tension into my heart and life. What’s good for the lost may introduce trouble for the found. What’s good for the found may cause stumbling for the lost. Ach, Gott! This is hard! Give me wisdom to walk the tightrope between love for the lost and love for found. Give me wisdom to know what to do and when to do it. Give me wisdom to show love in any and every situation. Keep me from giving moral offense and causing those who are in the faith to stumble and fall from it. Keep me from giving offense to those who are not yet in the faith so that they are not drawn to it, but rather are pushed from it. Lord God, help me draw people to you by my life and by my exercise of my Christian freedom. Amen.