So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. 1 Corinthians 10:31-22 (NIV)
It wasn’t my fault. If the grocery store hadn’t put the chocolate chips on sale, I wouldn’t have bought them. If my husband hadn’t invited some people over for a meeting, I wouldn’t have felt the need to make dessert. How would it look if I didn’t sit down at the table for a bite of something sweet with my guests? None of it is my fault at all. Just in case the irony of my words misses its mark, let me go on record as saying I am being facetious here. Yet, I can’t help but think something similar when I hear how our government regulates the industries who provide the means for our citizens to do themselves harm. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am totally against cigarette smoking. I never have smoked nor will because of allergies, but, one of my children has decided to use tobacco products on occasion. The fact that he was so allergic when he was a baby that his own grandfather stopped smoking in the house in order to keep from making him sick doesn’t phase him nor all the lessons he had in school about the dangers of smoking. Not even the warning labels on the products or television. No, he has decided that it is okay because his friends do and he doesn’t want to be left out when they are all sitting around drinking their coffee looking cool. Who’s to blame? The tobacco company? His friends? Could it be his own stupid choice? It’s not that I am against the new regulations, but I am wary of any more government intrusion in my life. I am (slightly-LOL) obese and diabetes runs in my family. Does that mean that someday I will be prevented from buying sugar until I step on a scale and prove that I am not overweight? Will technology fix my car so it will not run until I put on my seatbelt or if I don’t lock my cell phone into a compartment to keep me from it while I drive? More than one glass of wine makes me loopy. Will my driver’s license be coded that I only get one serving per day? My stories sound silly and confusing, but when will we Americans learn some self control? It certainly won’t be after the government has done it for us. There is one area in God’s laws that can also be misunderstood. The verses above don’t mean that we are two faced and act differently around some people than others. They mean that we make our choices not only for our own benefit, but to help others be self controlled as well. I might normally have a glass of sangria at my favorite restaurant, but I will not if we are accompanied by recovering alcoholics. If I refrain, I won’t be the one who causes them difficultly. That’s what self control is all about. Taking care that my actions do not hurt someone else.