The writer of Proverbs puts it very succinctly: “Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags” (Proverbs 23:20-21).
Gluttons for fatty foods are not the only type of gluttonous behavior threatening the lifeblood of America.
How many people have you met who have told you that they can handle their liquor? My guess is quite a few. That shouldn’t come as a surprise since advertising brainwashes people into thinking that consuming alcohol is everything from funny to sophisticated—and that it’s a normal thing to do.
Alcohol commercials on television are much more creative than the dramas and sitcoms people watch, and many commercials imply it’s impossible to watch and enjoy a sporting event without a beer in hand. There was a time (a better time) in which alleged Christian schools that engaged in collegiate sports would have nothing to do with the alcohol industry, but these same schools now embrace the industry in order to get their share of television revenue.
Of course, advertising shows you only the glamour of drinking. It doesn’t show you the twisted, mangled bodies of those involved in alcohol-related traffic accidents. To put things in perspective, since 2003 we have had more than 6,300 soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq. In that same period of time, more than 350,000-400,000 people have died in traffic accidents in this country, and some 40 plus percent of those deaths were alcohol-related.
Is this telling us alcohol is more dangerous than war? You make the call.
Of course, traffic fatalities are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of how alcohol destroys lives. In America, some 30,000 lives are lost to suicide each year and some 20,000 to homicide, many of which are alcohol-related. In short, some 100,000 people in America die each year of alcohol-related causes.
But, that’s just a smidgen of the story of ruined lives as a result of alcohol, the tentacles of which grip practically every area of our society—including the church. Alcohol is blamed for more than half of all visits to hospital emergency rooms, and it seems to go hand-in-hand with poverty. It makes beggars of people and destroys marriages and the lives of children.
There is a saying that you are what you eat, and there also should be one saying you are what you drink.
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When people need help, they often turn to the church. And, often when churches try to help people who can’t pay their rent, utility bills, put food on the table, or provide milk and diapers for a baby, they discover the adults involved are willing to do without all the essentials of life but are unwilling to give up beer and cigarettes.
Churches that initially help these people and then eventually refuse to enable them further unless they change their lifestyle are labeled hypocrites by the very same people they helped. It’s proof that no good deed goes unpunished.
When you witness people living in squalor who are unwilling to give up the buzz they get from alcohol, you’re simply seeing another facet of the many wonders of the “ha ha, aren’t we having fun” effects of rampant alcoholism in this country. Toss a few other drugs in the mix, and you have all the ingredients for all sorts of disasters, but make no mistake, alcohol is the No. 1 drug problem in the nation.
The consumption of alcohol gives one a false sense of security, exposing them to great danger. Some people are so confident of their ability to handle their liquor, they drive drunk, and God help any innocent person that gets in their way.
It is abysmal ignorance to think that alcohol does not impair one’s judgment. Any thinking person will measure the benefits of alleged social drinking against any perceived reward. 1 Peter 4:1-2 tells us we should dedicate ourselves to doing the will of God, not the lusts of men. Alcohol definitely falls in the “lust of men” category. Peter also tells us others will mock us for abstaining, but that shouldn’t matter. The popular and common use of alcohol has no place in the life of the Christian.
There is much in Scripture about why we shouldn’t drink, like concern for the weakness of others and not being a stumbling block to others (Romans 14:14-21). While a Christian should consider his or her sphere of influence, any degree of intellect should steer a person of conscience and reason away from the seductive effects of alcohol.
When you consider the Ten Commandments, and Jesus’ interpretation of them, alcohol often is a major factor in people breaking each and every one of them. How many people choose alcohol over God? How often is alcohol a contributing factor in people getting caught up in adultery and fornication? How much does alcohol consumption lead to young women and men losing their virginity? How many unwanted pregnancies are there because people fall under the seductive influence of alcohol? How many crimes of all kinds are committed in America because people leaned on liquid courage?
Christians should take the dangers of alcohol seriously and be proactive in helping themselves and others remain free from its clutches.