I recently heard about a friend of a friend who is a Christian and highly against alcohol. Now this is all second hand talk, and I’m not judging, but it led to a conversation between me and my wife about people who feel this way about alcoholic beverages. Now, I grew up in a home that was slightly anti-alcohol. My grandfather was an alcoholic, so my parents avoided drinking. If my dad had 1 beer a year, that was a lot. As I got older, I naturally avoided alcohol myself, knowing the effect it had had on my family. Also, it helped that I hated the taste.
The reason I bring this up is because I had a purpose in avoiding drinking. There was a legitimate reason. There a need to avoid temptation, drunkenness, and foolish mistakes. Also, like I said, I hated the taste (yuck). When we look at God’s law, there is a purpose for all His commandments. He wants us to wait to have sex because it creates a stronger relationship in marriage. He wants us to sacrifice for others because it shows love to our neighbors. He asks us to not steal because it shows respect and honor to our brothers and sisters and is morally just. If you read through the Bible, there are commandments against drunkenness because there is a reason. It leads to bad decisions and thus poor character. But against general consumption with dinner or a beer in the evening to relax, there is no such law.
Again I say, some people, Christians and non-Christians avoid alcohol simply because they know the possible effects, and that is great. Jesus tells us to cut out our eye if it causes us to sin, so do the same with the bottle. Those aren’t the people I am speaking about here. What I am talking about are the people who put every ounce of their energy into making sure the world knows the evil of alcohol. To those people who preach fiercely against alcohol, tattoos, and long hairstyles on men, let me remind you: everything can be an idol, even self righteousness.
What if you put that same amount of energy into sitting down with that person who is having a drink to show them some love, rather than yelling at them? What if you asked that person about what their tattoos mean instead of condemning them for what might be in their past? The answer is that you would do a much better job of representing Jesus to the world.
Let’s pretend for a second that alcohol and tattoos are evil (which they aren’t). Didn’t Jesus dine with tax collectors? Didn’t he show compassion to prostitutes? He didn’t welcome them into his inner circle as disciples or accept their wrongful choices, but He took time to show love to them and teach them about why He was there. Why? Because the Gospel was just as important for them to hear as it was for everyone else in the world. Jesus had no idols, including his own righteousness. The only thing He worshiped was God the Father, and one way (out of many) that He did that was by extending a hand of Grace.
Christians need to have the law, for it shows us the path of right and wrong. But don’t forget that Jesus fulfilled that law. Put your time, energy, and effort into honoring Him, not into self-righteous and silly judgement. So Christians, grab a drink and sit down with the person who needs to be shown Christ’s love, and if your worried about alcohol, I recommend the virgin strawberry daquiris. They’re my favorite.