Daily Office Readings for Monday of Proper 22 Year 1
“All things are lawful’, but not all things are beneficial. ‘All things are lawful’, but not all things build up.” (1st Corinthians 10:23)
Even now in our own day we have many behaviors that have no legal consequence for doing them. Everything from the way we dress to how we interact with others or how we spend our money. From the perspective of the law of the community, many things are legal for us. But are all these freedoms fitting for a moral person?
Modesty is the word I like to use in most situations especially as it applies to my personal attributes. Modest in dress means wearing having one’s own sense of appropriate attire. I know that I am more conservative than most Americans. I don’t even own a pair of short pants. I never leave home in a shirt that doesn’t have a collar. Often I wear a sport coat when out and about but not always. While in Israel I wore my jacket on all our tours. My fellow companions called me Mr. Debonair. I did it so that I always had my wallet, phone and most important passport with me at all times. But I don’t think they realized that. There are some ways of dressing that I consider either vulgar of untidy. I am not so much judging but rather discriminating about my own preferred way of dress. I think it is vulgar but not illegal for one’s pants to drop so low that one’s underwear is revealed. All things are lawful’, but not all things are beneficial.
Modesty in food means eating only what is enough. Now this is a real challenge for me. I like to eat. My biggest challenge is to go to an “all you can eat” restaurant and limit myself to only what is enough and not worry about how much I am losing in terms of my “money’s worth.” At the end of the day eating really is about a healthy body.
Modesty in language means to refrain from using vulgar expressions or profanity. This is more than just the use of bad words. Sarcasm is never a good thing I once quipped. It is most often condescending. Our feet speak best for us. Our feet will have us to be where we feel most comfortable. And where we are says all that needs to be said about how we feel. If we don’t like where we are or who we are with, we move. For the most part, except for fraud, free speech is legal, even profanity. All things are lawful’, but not all things build up.
I think Paul in his first letter to the Church in Corinth makes a valid point. What I take away from his words is a personal sense of individual responsibility with regard to my own discipline. There are community laws but I/we should have a personal limit well within the community standard that shows our own sense of modesty in all things. What do you think?
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying through and to God’s people and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John+