Daily D – 1 Corinthians 6:12
You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything. 1 CORINTHIANS 6:12 (NLT)
It is popular these days to talk about our strongest strengths as superpowers. What do you do better than ten thousand others? My superpower is focus. An assistant some years ago said I was “tightly focused.” She had asked a question and I did not immediately respond. I was thousands of miles and years away. As a History major, and as a guy who spends time daily reading the Bible and other ancient literature, some of my best friends have been dead for millennia. Our conversations are necessarily all in my head. It is hard to listen to the voices in my head when someone externally seeks to interrupt with trivial questions.
Let’s not send that last paragraph to any psychiatrists. Deal?
I am generally a nice guy. I even say Thank You to Alexa. However, when someone intrudes upon those moments of deep thought and focus, I can become a bit irritable. It happened yesterday. I had to reset the Amazon password. This required not only entering the new password but also deciphering those numbers and letters in the little box with lines and dots and all kinds of things which keep you from accurately recognizing the characters. I bet I went through a half dozen of those things.
Finally, Amazon sent a One Time Authenticator. I was carefully committing those numbers to memory and writing them in the appropriate box when my bride said something to me. I did not appreciate the interruption and snapped like a dog protecting his bone.
My superpower may not always be as super as I think it is.
The point here is not that I was a jerk, even though I was. I can give you all kinds of defenses about why I behaved the way I did. (Observation: If you have to defend your behavior, you might have been the one in the wrong. Just a thought.) The point is that we often hear, and may have even said, “I can do whatever I want. I am not hurting anyone else.” This simply is not true.
A pregnant woman has to exercise great care regarding what she puts in her body. When she does not do so, she hurts herself as the host, and she hurts the unborn child also.
Wee little Layla who you met yesterday here in this space is living proof of the harm we do to others when we live as if we are hurting no one but ourselves. For nearly two full days now, Layla has endured one test or another to get to the bottom of her disturbing symptoms. Through two long nights in the hospital, she has experienced seizures which are heartbreaking to all who witness them. It makes you want to hold that child ever so tightly and love those tremors away.
We get to choose our actions. We do not have nearly as much control over what happens to or in others. In some cases, like this one, one person’s freedom consigns another to unjust imprisonment.
We are free to choose. We are free to ruin our lives. That is where freedom ends. When we ruin our lives, we make life harder than it has to be for others as well. Like it or not, we live in community. No one of us, no group of us, are individuals who get to do as we please no matter what anyone else thinks. Individual freedom requires individual responsibility.
Let’s fast forward a bit. Twenty years from now, Layla will have a story to tell. She will graduate from college soon with honors and opportunities. Because of the intervention of a wonderful family who gave up a bit of their freedoms to ensure hers, she will step into a world where she will get to help still others live full and meaningful lives. She will honor her two mothers. One, she will honor by maximizing the opportunities she made possible. The other, she will honor by helping build a better world where the escape into destructive behavior is in no way attractive.
Layla has a hope and a future because someone very special has said, “While I am free to walk away and leave this child to someone else’s care, I am bound by love, I am compelled by mercy, I am driven by grace to ensure, as far as it depends on me, that she will live full and free.”
That kind of love is a superpower. I am so pleased to know someone who overflows with it. She makes the world a better place for everyone she meets. Layla has her on her knees. Layla has her undying love. Layla cannot help but thrive.
I will thank God for Melissa’s superpower.
Our Father, Melissa is so much like you in your love, mercy, and compassion. All of her struggles to this point have prepared her for this moment. Some things that did not make sense until now suddenly do. Who better than her to nurture Layla into the special future you intend? Give them each your grace and your strength for this time. Give them conscious awareness of your presence with them. Give them doctors, nurses, and others who will gently lead them through these days. Amen.
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Genesis 26:26-31 Meanwhile, Abimelek had come to him from Gerar, with Ahuzzath his personal adviser and Phicol the commander of his forces. 27 Isaac asked them, “Why have you come to me, since you were hostile to me and sent me away?”
28 They answered, “We saw clearly that the LORD was with you; so we said, ‘There ought to be a sworn agreement between us’—between us and you. Let us make a treaty with you 29 that you will do us no harm, just as we did not harm you but always treated you well and sent you away peacefully. And now you are blessed by the LORD.”
30 Isaac then made a feast for them, and they ate and drank. 31 Early the next morning the men swore an oath to each other. Then Isaac sent them on their way, and they went away peacefully.
Genesis 22:13, 14 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.
Genesis 21:1-3 Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised. 2 Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. 3 Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him.
Genesis 17:1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless.
Genesis 6:9 This is the account of Noah and his family.
Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.