All Things Are Lawful; Not All Are Beneficial

This meditation is based on a passage for March 15, 2010 in the Daily Lectionary Year 2 from the Book of Common Worship for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (1993).

Text: 1 Corinthians 10:14-11:1

Reflection and Question: Yet again Paul is trying to address a source of conflict in the church in Corinth: is it okay to eat meat that has been used as a sacrifice to an idol? And Paul repeats a maxim he uses often, “‘All things are lawful,’ but not all things are beneficial” or “build things up.” Finding all things lawful arises from the setting aside of Jewish Law that was required to include Gentiles in the emerging church. But it was, at the same time, important that they learn how to apply Jesus’ commandment to love their neighbor. In what situation today does the commandment to love our neighbor come into conflict with what is lawful?

Prayer: Blessed Spirit, You inspired Paul to teach that all things are lawful but not all things are beneficial. We receive his wisdom and desire to apply it in our lives. Show us when and where to give up our freedom in deference to beneficial love. Amen.