Freedom, Responsibility and Personal - Corporate Wellbeing
Having had shoulder surgery and being in the midst of doing physical therapy, I am aware of the delicate balance between getting my shoulder functioning again and causing damage to it by trying to do too much too soon. I am currently at a phase where the physical therapist is moving the arm and joint to begin to get range of motion back and times when I use my left arm to do exercises that lead my right arm and shoulder in similar ways as the physical therapist has moved them. Under no circumstances am I to lift any appreciable weight with my right arm because the tissue that had been surgically attached in the shoulder is still not fully attached to the bone. The process is slow and too much hurrying it along will only damage it. So I can relate to an incident that Christian author, Philip Yancey, told about in one of his books.
Yancey had foot surgery that had gone very well and had completed his physical therapy. But his doctor had told him that any physical activity that put much stress on the foot had to be delayed. He could walk on it fine but there was to be no running, bike riding, tennis or playing golf for many months to come. The golfing was the issue that came up first. Yancey was hoping to make it to a gathering of old friends who had scattered to different parts of the country and who usually golfed together once a year. The foot was feeling great and he didn’t think golfing should be a problem since it is not really as strenuous as those other activities. He was going to just go ahead and do it, but decided to call his doctor just to make sure it would be alright to do it this one time. After all, his doctor, an enthusiastic golfer himself, should understand.
When he got the doctor on the phone and asked the question, there was just silence for the longest time. Then the doctor said, “I would be unhappy if you tried to golf for at least two or three months more. You know how much I love to golf but as a golfer I know how much stress you will put on that healing foot when you swing the club. It’s not just one swing but all those that occur in the course of the game. I want you to be able to do all the things you love to do – like golf and tennis – for many years to come. So I don’t want you to jeopardize your future doing those things just because of a ‘too soon’ round of golf with your friends.”
In July as we celebrate on the Fourth, we rejoice in our personal freedoms as a nation. But as we talk about our personal freedoms, we also have to keep in mind the balance of those freedoms with our responsibilities to ourselves and to others. We must consider how our actions affect our personal and corporate well being. Just because something is legal does not mean it is morally right to do in a given situation. The Covid -19 pandemic we have been experiencing is a good example of this. Someone may say that they have a personal right to not wear a face mask or observe personal distance and touching rules. But sometimes our actions can cause us long term problems for short time gains. And our actions can lead to others, who are more vulnerable, being tragically affected. When we are told by Jesus to “Love our neighbor as our self,” he is telling us that our actions have an effect on others as well as ourselves. Yes, we celebrate our freedoms but we also need to hear the call of God in our lives to care about others as well. When we ask ourselves the question “What would Jesus Do,” we are checking to make sure we are not acting in a self-center way that could hurt others as well as ourselves