I’ve been debating for a long time whether or not to write a blog on drinking. I have strong feelings on the subject, but no one has ever asked me directly what they are. For the most part, they assume and then spend the rest of the conversation explaining (sometimes justifying, though I’m not judging) their own choice.
I had just about decided to let it rest and stick to blog topics that are more universally neutral in the Christian world when a young lady that I care a lot about made a casual comment about my not drinking. It was clear from her statement that she assumed my decision not to drink had something to do with my affiliation with the Southern Baptist denomination. I could easily hide behind that. I believe I have in the past, actually. However, my decision to abstain from alcohol has nothing to do with my being a Southern Baptist, and I feel compelled to let her and anyone else who might assume the same thing know how I arrived at the decision I’ve made. If I don’t, I have wasted an opportunity to influence.
Now, this young lady’s comment was neither critical nor defensive, so please understand that this post is in no way a counterargument. It is simply a list of reasons that I do not and will not, at any point in the future, drink. I hope that those who find themselves undecided or feel a check in their spirit when they consider drinking for reasons they cannot identify will be encouraged and bolstered by what they read.
To my brothers and sisters who do drink, please do not take offense. I’m sure that you have weighed and prayed about your decision as well. I do not think less of you for the decision you’ve made, but I’m convinced that there are those who find themselves straddling uncomfortably a fence–which seems to have grown taller as of late–that separates people whom they love, trust, and admire. I know that’s not fun. If I can, I want to help them down on the side that I personally believe will bring them peace and spare them regret.
* The Bible says not to be drunk, and the line between having a drink and having too many drinks is just too fuzzy. Drunkenness, or being controlled by alcohol (even for a short time), is something that Christ died to set us free from. To me, drinking after He did that would be like being released from jail and choosing to frequent the jail parking lot.
* I don’t want to contribute financially to an industry that capitalizes on the pain, neediness, and addiction of anyone. I know too many people whose lives have either been ruined or forever altered by alcohol. Though many people are able to drink without becoming addicted, I wonder how many people, without realizing it, have come to depend on alcohol as a social crutch, trading in Christ-centered or even people-centered relationships that might have been for ones that revolve around the consumption of a substance.
* Alcohol dulls sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. Alcohol creates spiritual static, making it hard for me to discern what God might be saying to me, and I never know what He’s going to say or when. Missing a divine appointment because I chose to drink, for me, would be like letting someone drown because I’m busy watching TV.
* I don’t want to exclude anyone or hinder relationships. People who do drink often exclude those who don’t drink when they gather socially. I like peanut butter, but I don’t let it keep me from spending time with friends who have peanut allergies. I simply don’t eat peanut butter when I’m around them. The effects of drinking often carry over into the next day, causing others to feel as if they are less important than the drinking experience to the one who chooses to drink.
* I don’t want to point others, particularly my children, toward anything that could potentially become a problem for or hurt them.
* If I chose to drink, it would be for me, to fulfill my own desires and purposes, which is where every sin issue I’ve ever had has started. I just don’t want to go there.
* If I broke off a piece of the Loritab, Darvacet, Percacet, or Vicadin in my cabinet every time I felt the need to relax, people would say I had a problem. I struggle to see how that is any different than pouring a glass of whatever when I feel the need to chill.
* I just don’t need it. As a Christian, every freedom is mine in Christ. In fact, the spiritual yard that the Father has given me to play in is way too huge for me to worry about whether or not to set foot in the 10X10 plot of freedom that is social drinking.
* I want to be set apart. The Bible doesn’t say that no one can ever drink, but God does tell several individuals whom He sets apart for higher tasks not to consume alcohol. There has to be a reason for that. On some level, He must value abstinence from alcohol, and, hey, if God is taking volunteers for higher tasks, sign me up!
So, there it is. Do with it what you will, friends, but I felt I had to share. Let me say again that I do not think less of those who drink.
It does make me sad, however, when I scroll through my Facebook and Twitter feeds and see that so many young Christians I know are constantly posting pictures of their alcoholic drinks and dropping the names of imported beers and mixed drinks they’ve consumed. What are they trying to prove? If they really believe drinking isn’t an issue, then why the show and tell?