1 Corinthians 10:23 “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.
I used to build houses for a year when I was around 20 years old. It was a good thing for me to do so that I could learn the basic skills necessary to build any structure out of wood. After the foundation was laid, we would wait for the materials to be delivered to the job before we showed up. When we arrived, we would separate the materials into sections. It was important for us (the crew) to not arrive before the materials were there because without them, we would be wasting the boss’ time.
The words “helpful” and “build up” are important words in our verse today. The word “helpful” has the idea of bringing together, and the phrase “build up;” of erecting a structure. These are framing words. The picture is of gathering the materials together and erecting, or building up the edifice. This is our task as Christians. Christians are to be living their lives with the intention of bringing the right people together to build up the church of Jesus Christ. We are to have a purpose, not of separating people, but of gathering them together. We are meant to live in community and not in isolation. We are to always be building additions on to our house (metaphorically speaking) so that the communal Church grows and grows.
All things are lawful for the Christian. But not everything I can choose to do will bring people together, nor build them up.