I’m sure after reading this post’s title, emotions were raised…either in support or against my view. So, in either case, please settle down. I’m not sure what causes people’s emotions to absolutely boil when someone comes along with a different viewpoint than their own, but this seems to happen whenever the subject of alcohol is raised. I’ll admit that it’s even been the subject of a few arguments within my own family. As emotions escalate, feelings tend to get damaged; it’s a battle that, in the end, no one really wins. With all that said, I’ll attempt to keep my emotions in check while I write the remainder of this post.
As a young child, I never saw my parents drink alcohol…ever. As far as I knew, none existed in the house, not even cooking wine or rubbing alcohol. Imagine my surprise when they told us a story of how they got some of my older siblings tipsy from some canned apple juice that had fermented. Of course my mom can laugh about it now but I’m sure it wasn’t as funny when it happened. That story is the only reference we ever heard about alcohol in our house. In fact the subject, for or against, wasn’t really talked about at all. However, growing up Baptist, it was more or less assumed that as a Christian, you would never dare drink. I don’t remember a sermon, sunday school lesson or lecture about the drinking of alcohol. I just never did it and really did not have the desire to drink it.
When I became of legal age to drink, I was attending Huntington College (now called Huntington University) in Huntington, Indiana. The college has a list of rules that students are to follow called the Community Life Agreement and as you can see, we weren’t allowed to drink alcohol. But here’s the thing: even if we were allowed, I wouldn’t want to. Why? Well, there are several reasons and the list gets longer every year. Here’s my reasons when I was in college:
1. Not allowed (as mentioned above).
2. Illogical. I’m a VERY logic-based type of person (which may surprise you once you find out that I was a Communication major in college…a major that typically attracts the creative types, not the logic minded folks). In my mind, it didn’t make much sense to dull the senses for a temporary amount of time to get away from your problems, only to wake up the next morning with the problems still being there, but with less time to solve them.
3. Danger. I think the effects of drinking and driving have been well documented. Do I need to go on with this reason?
4. Reliability. I like that I’m dependable. Unless I’m sick, you can pretty much count that if you need me, you can get a hold of me…day or night…and I won’t have a hangover. In college we depended on technology quite a bit at the radio station and when it failed, I was typically called upon to solve the issues.
5. My faith. I’ll expand on this later, but I can point to several scripture verses that have convicted me to abstain from alcohol. I have not taken the Nazarite vow mind you, but my convictions are just as strong. Though the following verses are taken from a passage that’s talking about another area that we can stumble in, I believe it also has general guidance as well:
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. [1 Cor. 6:19-20 ESV]
As time went on, either more reasons were added or adjusted from the the previous reasons. There were life instances as well as teaching from our pastor that really solidified my belief that as a Christian, I should not do this (for my own well-being as well as to be an example for others).
1. Car accident. Yes, drinking and driving was mentioned in the previous list, but something dramatic changed my theoretical belief into a practical belief: I was hit by a drunk driver. To read the full story, check out my wife’s blog post which includes a bunch of pics. You never think it’ll happen to you…and then it does…and it changes you.
2. Family. Yes, I also mentioned that my parents never consumed alcohol (to my knowledge) or at the very least in front of us. However, that doesn’t mean that any of my siblings didn’t consume alcohol when they were growing up. Such was the case with one of my younger siblings. Getting a phone call very early in the morning from a drunk sibling that wants you to pick them up and they don’t know where they are: not what I’d consider a fun way to spend my early morning hours. Seeing how alcohol affects your family isn’t, in my opinion, the best advertisement for me to give it a try.
3. Friends. A few years back some friends of our ours from church got married. At issue for me was when the celebration carried over from the reception to the married couple’s newly purchased home as a sort of home warming/casual wedding reception combination. The amount of alcohol that was consumed that day by the married couple, as well as friends, was…well…let’s just say that I don’t understand why you’d willingly want to drink a substance that you know will make you forget a huge day in your life (or at the very least make you act in a way that you’ll regret later on). I can only wonder what their neighbors thought of the ‘new’ residents.
4. Faith. I HIGHLY recommend listening to this CD by Pastor James MacDonald. Obviously, his take is similar to mine…we don’t drink. I choose not to. Plain & simple. You say…‘but what about Jesus? Didn’t He drink alcohol? Didn’t He turn water into wine for others to drink?’ There are a few places that others more intelligent than I have already given an answer to this line of questioning. Check this one out.
Lastly, I am aware that “Thou shall not drink alcohol” is not one of the Ten Commandments…I never said it was. So the question for you may not be “Is it wrong to drink alcohol” but “is it right”? As you weigh these factors as I have, check out this scripture verse:
So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. [James 4:17 ESV]
Sometimes sinning isn’t just doing the wrong, but can also be not doing what you know to be right. Aren’t Christians told to be holy (which means, ‘set apart’) in 1 Peter? Don’t get me wrong…I’m not perfect. But even though there isn’t a directive about alcohol like one of the Ten Commandments, I believe there’s plenty of proof that Christians need to stop drinking alcohol in order to experience the blessing that obedience to God can offer.