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Americans make a big deal about “rights.”  We have many liberties in this country and it seems like we always want more.  Especially when a law seems to infringe upon something that I like or deem necessary to happiness.  Of course, there is an appropriate application of this idea and we should thank the Lord regularly for the many rights we have in this country.  While some people in the world hate us, we are the envy of many others for the opportunities before us.  However, there are times when what we have a right to do or be should be restrained.  There is a higher principle than what “I have a right” to do.  Some would say that principle is “duty.”  For example, I may have a right to go fishing every morning but I have a “duty” to perform as a husband and as an employee.  Simply living by duty can get frustrating because there is still something higher.  Some would say that “expediency” is the higher value.  In other words, what is best for me.  I have a right to drink as much Mountain Dew as I want to but the consequences will likely prove dire.  Lawful things are not always helpful.  The higher principle is not duty or expediency but love.  It is love that may require setting aside my rights.  This is a significant theme in the first letter to the Corinthian church.  While Paul dealt with many subjects it seems to me that the underlying theme is “Love one another.”  As we mentioned last week, we will not seek to know our neighbor if we do not love our neighbor, and we will not love our neighbor if we are not developing a disposition of love.  The same is true with “my rights.”  If the higher principle is not deeply embedded in our character as a reality, we will have a hard time deferring to others “in a pinch.”  We’ll look at this Sunday in the shadow of the Communion Table…I think you’ll see the point.  smiley