In 1 Corinthians, Paul addresses a church that had a problem: they were in love with freedom. They felt, since God forgives sins, they could do anything they wanted, even violate the cultural ethics of their pagan neighbors to the point that Paul was horrified by some of the things he was hearing.
America, like Corinth, has a similar problem. We are intoxicated with our sense of rights and freedom. We, even as Christians, loudly proclaim, celebrate, and defend our “God-given rights.”
We forget, much like the church at Corinth, that we are not defined by what we can do, but rather by what we should do. We should be more concerned with the Right we are called to do than the rights we claim we have.
Paul laid out a clear set of parameters for the Corinthians that we would do well to remember. We may be able to do anything we want, but far too often we become mastered by the freedoms we enjoy. We worry far too much about our own good rather than the good of others. We even harm ourselves by insisting on our right to do something. None of these things are acceptable, none of them are Right.
Rather than seeking our own freedom, our own good, we are called to be champions of those who are weak, who are oppressed, or who have no voice. No Christian should first think, “I have my rights,” but rather, “I have a calling to do Right.”
In one of the great paradoxes of faith, we are absolutely free and yet totally bound. The freedom is the gift of God’s Grace. The binding, however, is something we voluntarily take upon ourselves. We choose to deny our own freedom for the good of others. We choose to set aside our rights so that we may better pursue the cause of what is Right.