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The Abuse of Freedom

( [email protected] ) Jul 04, 2004 03:18 AM EDT

All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. - 1 Corinthians 6:12.

The unanimous Declaration of Independence by the Thirteen Colonies in Congress, July 4, 1776:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Recently we took a trip and as we did we passed across several state lines. We were never stopped or harassed by police authorities. We did not have to obtain a permit. We traveled during the daytime and at night. We stayed at the hotel of our choosing and ate where we wanted. Our itinerary changed at times and we did not have to ask permission to alter it. Freedom is a wonderful thing!

We have freedom in this country, as do many other countries in the 21st Century. However, the founding fathers of the United States would never have dreamed of what some people would do with that freedom.

Many use their freedom to use alcohol in excess and their freedom allows them easy access to illegal substances which are harmful to them. There is freedom to access pornography on the Internet and for years it has been available on cable television. Not only do people watch this on their computers and their television but also many go to clubs where there are live performances. Adult merchandising of everything from lingerie to videos is a booming business.

Of course, there are other abuses of freedom such as those who manipulate their companies’ accounting practices to enable themselves to become rich at the expense of others. In Oklahoma, an attorney made a will for a woman four days after she was ruled incompetent giving himself and his family a substantial amount of the estate. When reported to the state bar association the attorney claimed he did not know it was against the rules to make a will for someone in which he or his family benefited. The state bar association declined to reprimand this man!

As Christians, we have great freedom and our Lord’s mercy is never ending to those who have received Him as their Savior. The apostle Paul understood this as he said, “All things are lawful for me…” Paul may not have read 1 John 1:9 but he understood it. However, the apostle also knew that, “…all

things are not helpful.” Paul then goes on to warn against sexual immorality saying, “…Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. …Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own

body (1 Corinthians 6:13c;18).”

Yes, we have freedom through Christ but that freedom came at a great cost - we are not our own (1 Corinthians 6:20).

Copyright © 2004. Ed Wrather. Permission is given for use of the devotionals

on a non-profit basis with source credited. On June 8, 1998 the email

version of the Burning Bush Devotional was first sent.