All Things Are Lawful

I’m pretty sure my jaw hit the floor. It would have been a picture perfect moment of someone in shock; eyes wide open, mouth wide open, speech a complete impossibility. I sat staring at the screen in front of me hoping that what I was looking at was a figment of my imagination.

I like the closeness we have with our friends. I like knowing not just the wives, but their husbands and their children as well. Having a relationship with the family gives great insight into whether or not our children should be playing together, if my kids are safe in their home, and if they feel the same towards us.

So… imagine my shock when I ‘friend’ a daughter of a friend and my eyes are assaulted with what I can only call junk! Now, to be honest, there was nothing blatantly wrong about what she was putting up. She was fully clothed, not drinking, not doing drugs, not hanging all over a guy (although some guys were commenting on her photos in a slightly suggestive manner); no, there was nothing outright “bad” about her pictures. 

All Things Are Lawful

Her photos caught me off guard because they weren’t her “normal” self; the person I see on a weekly basis. The person in the pictures was egotistical, self-centered, shallow, and immature. 

At first, this made me wonder if her parents even knew what she was posting. Perhaps they are completely ignorant of her habits. Then, another sobering thought crossed my mind. Maybe they do know and it doesn’t bother them.

As Christians, we often fall back on the old standby, “The Bible doesn’t say it’s wrong!”.  However, just because something isn’t specifically laid our for us, doesn’t mean we can’t use common sense. Just because something is “lawful” doesn’t make it right or good. 

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a formula, some standard by which we could hold up all decisions and have a clear-cut answer for those ‘grey areas’ of life? I wish I could tell you there was and produce a printable version for your household. Unfortunately there isn’t. 

Some are okay with drinking alcohol, while others find smoking to be acceptable. Rated R movies, using certain words, attending clubs, and more could all be considered ‘grey areas’ in a Christian’s life. 

As a parent, it can be hard to lay out rules in these areas. “But mom, they’re Christians and they do it. Where in the Bible does it say —- is wrong?” (sigh) There are no easy answers.

If I could offer one piece of advice, it would be thus… just because it is lawful, doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Before you go thinking I am clever or, for those of you who already know where this is going, accuse me of plagiarism, this idea is not my own. Nope; not by a long shot. This idea is Biblical.

Within the context of grace, I am permitted to do all sorts of things. However, the Bible tells me I am to use wisdom and to avoid things which have the appearance of evil. I am also warned against doing things which do not build me up. 

So, my argument as a parent (friend, councilor, or anything else) is just that. Sure, you could do it, but is it going to make you a better person? Is —- going to build you up or tear you down? If you choose to engage in this behavior, are you going to influence someone else in a negative manner?

Back to my friend’s daughter…. What she is doing is not, in fact, wrong. It just caught me off guard. She is completely within her rights to continue on her mission, but is it really in her best interest? 

While we are on the subject, it might be time to take stock of my own life. Are there things I am engaged in which would best be avoided? As a wife, mom, educator, friend, and more, I want to make sure I am not the cause of someone else being stumbled. Just because I can, doesn’t mean I should.

What helps you determine what is not only lawful, but edifying?

“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.” – I Corinthians 10:23

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16 thoughts on “All Things Are Lawful

  1. It is such a fine balance this life we lead. It must be anchored in love and love alone. We are called to stand apart, often a journey our children find hard, but in love we must teach them Him and let Him be the corrector and author of their journeys.
    In saying that, it is hard to teach godly behavior when the world around us, believers and none believers alike, condone things, we as a family may not, and then we must hold steadfast in the face of adversity.
    I have come to understand that God calls us to walk in obedience, no matter what the cost or mockery we may face. And sometimes to the outside world our family makes no sense. But He is worth standing apart for.
    Thank you for sharing your heart. It is good to talk about these things, and know I’m not the only mum out there who is shocked at what some may deem ok.
    Bless you. Stand strong. 😊

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  2. In situations when our kids would say, “Aw mom, everyone’s doing it….” My wife’s response was “In our family we….” It doesn’t make any difference what others do, this is how we live our lives. One other thought, you never really know what goes on behind closed doors in someone else’s family. You are absolutely right in being vigilant.

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  3. Social media is not always the best indication of who we are. Teens especially, pose. That said, your point regarding our choices within the law, and if they could cause a weaker brother or sister to stumble, or be misread as encouragement for destructive behavior is well taken. We all need to be self-vigilant, and also not allow ourselves to be influenced by man, over God.
    I wonder if this young woman has looked over her posts with an eye towards the possibility that she could be weakening someone’s defenses or causing someone to stumble. Might be an important step for her.

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  4. Beautifully worded. This is such a fine line. I’m not sure I have any sort of ‘plumb line’ for determining where that line is. I shall have to give that some serious thought. Nice post!

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  5. I didn’t see this till this am but I would love to share some thoughts.

    1. My short answer to your question is the Holy Spirit perfectly knows the mind of God and is the one I want to inform the boundaries I give my children.
    2. Personally I love the verse you quoted. It perfectly illustrates why the law (old covenant) was replaced by the new covenant of grace, personified in Christ (Hebrews 8:7-9, John 1:17) and why as believers we live by His Spirit who gives us wisdom.
    3. Grace is not a license to do whatever you want, its higher than the law and by it you carry out the spirit behind the law. Jesus had many run-ins with the Pharisees over letter of the law vs. spirit of the law. Paul talked about the same in 2 Corinthians 3.
    4. Depending on the relationship I had with the young lady you spoke about I would talk to her about her identity crisis. She may have heard but not believed how much she is loved by the Lord and the complete acceptance and approval she enjoys because on the cross He took her complete judgement for everything that made her unacceptable. I’d remind her that she is a brand new person in Him and when He is the center of her life she is most confident and attractive.
    5. If I look at myself I can always find some way that I’m a stumbling block to others. I think we’re called to look at Jesus, who we are in Him, and what we have, undeservedly, because of Him. Looking at Him keeps us from stumbling (Jude 1:24, Hebrews 12:1-3) thereby making it less likely we trip someone else up.

    Blessings,
    Vanessa

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  6. I agree, I also want to get to know the families of my kids’ friends so that I can have a peek at the values that they live by. Of course I wouldn’t know everything just by standing at the door but it would give me a clue somehow. 🙂

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  7. I, too, as the reader above, just had this conversation with my daughter! Must be in the air! How something may not be a sin, but to others it may be, and it is our job to be edifying and uplifting. Not a stumbling block to ourselves or others. I do pray the child mentioned above will find inner strength to eventually forge her own path (God’s intended path). Thanks for sharing.

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