a hard truth

This post originally published on a previously-owned blog and was imported here to simplify my life. Please excuse any confusion due to this merge. I hope you enjoy the content!

Everywhere I go, the more people I meet, no matter where the location in the world…a common subject crops up which causes increasing concern on my part with my generation’s attitude to certain Biblical truths.

What am I talking about?  Alcohol.

Most of you will stop reading this now if you haven’t already, because you already have your opinions on this.  And they are strong.  But for those few of you willing to stick it out, please let me share my heart. Let’s start with an example I heard recently: there’s a local church in town that holds a Bible study in a bar.  Many older/traditional people may bristle at that, but, as my husband pointed out, the main question we should always ask is, “would Jesus do that?”
I want to be very careful in how I’m communicating in this post.  I am judging no one.  We are all at different levels of our walks with varying levels of maturity and faith.  I have felt God’s prodding in me for a long time to share my thoughts on this and perhaps, just perhaps, it will help even one more person realize the Biblical truth of how we must truly live in order to receive eternal life.
Is alcohol the substance a sin?  No.  Is the act of drinking it a sin?  No.  There are numerous instances of drinking in the Bible.  Positive ones.  Jesus himself drank alcoholic drinks.   In fact, Mike just sent me an article that expounds on this with great examples.  So, then why am I even writing this blog, you ask?  Please read further…
Romans chapter 14 is occasionally used as an excuse to do worldly things because “it doesn’t affect me,” “I’m not convicted about it,” “I have freedom in Christ and eat/drink anything I want.”  Dig a little deeper, though, and read verses 14-21.
As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself.  But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean.  If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Romans 14:14-15a
Are we not called to love?  Our top two commandments: love God and love others.  Not sappy happy surface love, but as we are called to love in this and countless other passages in God’s Word.
Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died… Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.  Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food.  All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble.  It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall. Romans 14:15b,19-21
*I encourage you to read the whole chapter – I just took parts for space sake.
Ask yourself the question Paul mentions later in verse 23.  If you were 100% honest with yourself, do you have a ping of doubt that what you’re doing is a sin?  The Bible can’t be perfectly clear on every subject in life – sin or no sin.  But it can direct you to your conscience and your listening to God as he guides your life.  If you sat down and thought about it, perhaps you might actually have that feeling of uneasiness that you might be assisting in someone’s private addiction they hadn’t been honest about…  You may not have even offered them a beer; they may have just seen you purchase that bottle of wine from a distance in the grocery store and thought to themselves, “Well, if he can do it and he’s Christian…”  When God shows us that something is considered wrong in our culture, I think we have a responsibility to make sacrifices to be His examples.
Slight but relevant tangent: First Timothy speaks of leaders in the church being judged first.  Whether one is an official leader or just a natural leader/spokesperson of a group, I believe he or she should be even more careful when playing with the fire that is temptation and alcohol (not to mention sex, money and other worldly attractions).
So is a Bible study in a bar a good idea?  Well, maybe.  A lot of those people certainly wouldn’t hear the Truth any other way… But say someone does come to the Lord through your leading a lesson in a bar – you are now discipling a person who obviously enjoys to drink and probably has a minor to major addiction to alcohol.  Should you continue to hold your Bible study in the easiest possible place for your brother to stumble?
In a mostly unrelated seminar I sat in on a few weeks ago, the speaker was describing why our teens are falling away from the church in droves.  60%-80% (depending on the source) of children raised in the church will be gone from the church by the time they are 25.  Part of this is due to hypocritical ways church leaders and/or parents are living.  {Most is due to Scripture being irrelevant and not regularly applied to life at home.  For a more in-depth reading on this, see David Kinnaman’s You Lost Me.}  If we have a nonchalant attitude to very serious things, our children are going to live just like that but worse.  They will take even more freedoms than we are taking.  They are most definitely not going to be solid Christians, if at all, and what do you think their fate will be?  We have a responsibility for not only our generation but younger ones.
The excuses and justifications of behavior need to stop.  Holding Bible studies – whether at a bar or in your own home – in conjunction with drinking alcoholic beverages…are you not more concerned with being socially accepted than being the light of the world?  The latter is HARD.  You WILL be persecuted.  It’s not easy to be the only one in a group who just says “No thanks” and then to answer the “whys” that follow. But don’t you want for your friend the same blessing you have by being a Jesus follower?  Don’t you want to hear that “well done” from Jesus himself because you decided not to be the Tempter’s right hand in social situations?
As you can see, I am deeply concerned for the apathetic mindsets around me.  I’m praying for a revival.  A total transformation of my generation.  Let’s lean on each other support, let’s pray for each other and for ourselves, let’s embrace these hard truths together and rock this world for Christ.

2 thoughts on “a hard truth

  1. Sydney, I absolutely love your post! When both my girls went to their Christian College they were so shocked at some things and one was this topic. They both told me they thought they were about the only ones that didn't drink- besides their close friends. Thanks for speaking out about this! There need to be more stepping up. I will join you in praying for a revival. Blessings btw- your seminar sounded wonderful.

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  2. Thanks, Shirley. Being such a non-confrontational person, it took a lot of gumption to actually post it. :/ But it's how I feel! 2 of my top 5 themes in StrengthsFinder are Belief & Harmony, so they butt heads sometimes. :)Your encouragement made my day. Hope you have a great weekend!

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