Americans cherish our freedoms. We can do anything we want. Really. There are so many choices right now in America that, given enough income, we can live almost any lifestyle we care to pursue. As they say, "It's a free country."
Thursday morning's news broadcast included an outrageous story about a man who had published a sort of "self-help guide" aimed at pedophiles. The book was temporarily available at Amazon for the Kindle platform until enough angry Amazon users insisted that it be removed from the inventory. The author, when interviewed, was unapologetic.
The scary thing is that a surprising number of people would object to Amazon's actions as censorship. I even know a few former colleagues who would probably agree. Freedom of expression and the freedom to read trumps pretty much anything else in their minds. For them, there is no such thing as evil, unless it is the suppression of freedom.
Such is the lure of evil.
This is an extreme example, but believers can easily forget that freedom does not mean license.
There are no church authorities checking up on me every week. No lighting will strike me when I sin. I'm fairly free to make choices regarding my time and my money without much fear of earthly consequences.
That's why Peter's challenge is particularly apt. I have freedom, but with that freedom comes responsibility. I am "God's special possession", a "foreigner and exile", "called out of darkness." My actions have consequences. When I do good, it exposes (and silences) the "ignorant talk of foolish people." Good deeds, done in Christ's name, can cause even the pagans to praise God. (1 Peter 2)
It's a free country. I can do anything I want. I choose to live as God's servant.
Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.
1 Peter 2:16 NIV