Wednesday, April 18, 2012
To Drink or Not to Drink? That is the Question.
One of my best friends is celebrating her 21st today. I respect her as a sister in Christ, and I know she loves the Lord and so do her friends. Her friends have been taking her out for drink all day in celebration, and in between times she shared the gospel with someone!
I have another buddy who will turn 21 in one week. He too is confused. He wants to have a toast of celebration, but the only people he has to drink with are his family, and he is the only Christian around, so he knows this would not be a smooth move on his part, especially given the full details of the situation.
Here's my story:
November-ish is when a lot of my friends turned 21. I excitedly watched as each one reacted differently. One of my besties who has drank a lot in high school simply drank a few beers with a close friend. No fireworks, no bars, just simple enjoyment.
Then a non-religious friend had her birthday in December and did not even have a drop. In fact she's never had a drop, and doesn't plan on it until May, when we both plan to have a glass of wine together as a mutual celebration. (I thought that was sweet.)
My close Christian friend Ashley celebrated in March by taking a car full of us girls to a fancy restaurant! She had a sip of margarita, hated it, and doesn't plan on drinking much any more.
Another classmate turns the big 2-1 next weekend and has a four day event page posted on Facebook. Bars, shots, drinks, and kegs will be involved in this ongoing celebration! (I thought it sounded fun but a tad extreme.)
So I have all different friends doing all different things. My whole life I always just assumed I would drink a few on my birthday. I never wanted to get wasted, just a good buzz ya know? Either way, I began praying about the upcoming event.
In February I had a conversation with a friend who was about to make the age jump. I explained to him that I didn't think drinking was a sin, but that getting drunk was a sin. (Ephesians 5:18, Proverbs 20:1) I explained that just like anything else, moderation is the key. God is God, not alcohol.
He then asked if I would join him in a few casual drinks.
I quickly started explaining the biblical rule of "living above reproach." The Bible talks about this a lot, and I did not want to ruin someone's salvation story because they saw me drinking a few cold ones just for the heck of it. Put simply: it would depend on who was around.
Shortly after that we were sitting in church and I became heavily convicted about the previous conversation. Haley, if you are doing something you don't want everyone to see, you probably shouldn't be doing it in the first place anyways.
So we made a vow to sobriety.
Then I read Blue Like Jazz and my entire theology was questioned and I became interested again. Alcohol is an enjoyable thing. We make it bad because of social context and extreme drunkards without self-control.
I have friends who don't believe you should touch alcohol with a ten foot pole. "If the Bible says don't do it, then run as far away in the other direction as you can."
I also have friends who think it's okay for Christians to drink as long as they don't get drunk or they are not around people who they would cause to stumble.
I also have lost friends whom I have been fervently praying for and pointing to God. Not to mention the few girls I disciple on a regular basis.
So as I said, now I am a month away and still being tossed like a wave at sea. This is what I am asking, What are your thoughts? Do you think it's a sin to drink or just to be drunk? What would be the best thing to do in my situation?
Friday I will post what God laid on my heart.