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Freedom and Responsibility by Dr. J.T. Parish

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An emigrant from Ireland stepped off the ship in New York, stretched his arms and said, “Free at last.” But in stretching his arms, he hit another man in the nose. The other man promptly knocked him down.

The emigrant got up rubbing his jaw and said, “I don’t understand, I thought this was a free country.”

To which the other man replied, “Your freedom ends where my nose begins!”

We are free, but we are not free to do anything we want to. Freedom is balanced with responsibility. The “me” generation missed this point. The “do your own thing” people taught “if it feels good, do it,” but that doesn’t work because what you do affects other people.

Cain asked, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Evidently, he thought the answer was “no.” The answer is “yes.”

We are responsible, not only to God who can bring us into Judgment, but also for our brother who is created in the image of God and for whom Christ died. Our freedom is tempered by our brotherly obligations.

Paul gave the Biblical principle when he said, “If meat makes my brother to offend, I will eat no meat as long as the world stands.”

He further said, “Give no offense, neither to the Jew, the Gentile, nor the Church of God.”

You have a responsibility to your brothers in Christ and even those outside the church. Be free in the Lord, but know that your actions affect others.

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