ILLUSTRATION: The bite of of snake and its effects
Have you ever handled a snake? You know it is a very delicate matter to handle snakes. They can slip out of your hand very easily. When you don’t have them under control, a snake will do its best to snap at you and bite you. They hiss and then they strike. I have seen people who have been bitten by a snake. The bite is very nasty. It swells up and poisons the skin. It stings, and throbs and causes tremendous amounts of pain.
Have you ever known anyone who has been bitten and stung by alcohol?
Statistics show that there are many people who drink alcohol. Just like handling snakes, you can drink alcohol, but there can always be a danger in getting stung and bit by the effects of alcohol.
An article from Time Magazine, European Edition:
Europe is already the heaviest-imbibing region in the world, with alcohol consumption per head over twice the world average — 11 L of pure alcohol per year. That number has been gradually declining since the mid-1970s, as southern countries have slowly lost the habit of drinking throughout the day. But the younger generation is raising it up again. The age people start drinking is getting lower — 11.8 years for Europeans who are now students, compared to 15 for those now aged 40 to 54. Across the European Union, 13% of 15- to 16-year-olds have been drunk more than 20 times in their life, and 18% have "binged" — drunk the equivalent of a bottle of wine in one sitting — three or more times in the last month. Irish Minister of State Noel Ahern, speaking about his own country, captures the European trend: "People used to drink for enjoyment, but now many young people are drinking to get plastered."
See the following link for the entire story.
In this environment in which Europeans seem to be telling one another that drinking is normal, how should a Christian respond?
What do I do? How do I know if I am right?
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY?
Abstain and avoid alcohol and being intoxicated
Proverbs 20:1, Isaiah 5:22-23, 56:11-12, Luke 21:34
from becoming intoxicated - Luke 12:45, Ephesians 5:18, 1 Thessalonians 5:7,
from getting drunk - 1 Corinthians 5:11, 6:10,
from continually being drunk - Luke 21:34, Romans 13:13, Galatians 5:21
Moderate drinking of alcohol
Men - 1 Timothy 3:8
Women - Titus 2:3
Medical purposes – 1 Timothy 5:23
HOW WILL PEOPLE PERCEIVE AND REACT TO ME?
This is the question you have to ask yourself when you come into contact with alcohol in social settings. Alcohol can be a problem of association. Bad things are associated with the misuse of alcohol. Having a sip of alcohol may not be wrong. But when we consume alcohol, it is usually in the company of other people. Because alcohol can diminish judgment, our actions change. We do stuff that we would not normally do. Alcohol lowers inhibitions. Normally, we are in control of our mind and what we do. Alcohol changes that. Alcohol helps a person lose self-control. As a result, the Bible tells us that we should avoid losing self-control. For some people alcohol is too much of a poison and they can’t stop the venom in their system. For others, they can drink alcohol one day and stop the next. When alcohol is the vehicle that makes us get out of control, we have to learn to stop it.
HOW WILL MY ACTIONS INFLUENCE OTHERS?
This is the question you have to ask yourself when you let alcohol interact in your relationships. If alcohol lowers your inhibitions, it may be good when you want to loosen up. But since alcohol helps you lose self-control, it can also damage relationships.
The first example of this is with Noah. Noah got drunk, and it had a damaging effect on his entire family. It separated his family. Alcohol does this. Alcohol can ruin families. Alcohol will separate us from the ones we love.
"If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and who, when they have chastened him, will not heed them, then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city, to the gate of his city. And they shall say to the elders of his city, "This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’
(Deuteronomy 21:18-20 NKJV)
Alcohol hardens a person’s heart. Alcohol can make a person stubborn and disobedient. When a young person drinks alcohol, one natural effect is that they will not honor and obey their parents. Alcohol hurts families. If this is true for children, it is just as true for parents. Alcohol have can a strong influence on your family.
How do we avoid the sting and bite of alcohol? We teach our children about it. We take control over their drinking habits by NOT providing alcohol in the home. With these kinds of statistics, if a Christian parent shows alcohol in the home, it will only be a matter of time before your child drinks. Then the pressure will mount for your child to drink to excess.
While you may be able to control the excess because you can drink just for pleasure, your child is going to consider getting plastered. You have to set the example for your children.
Now, for those of us who decide it is normal to drink alcohol – what I am I telling you? I am telling you to be wise – be smart. I am not forbidding you to drink. The Bible does not forbid you to drink alcohol. But just because it is allowed, does not mean it is good to do.
If you want to avoid getting bit and stung, stay away from the snake. If you want to avoid needless pain and injury to your family, avoid alcohol. A responsible Christian should think more than just about the pleasure of the moment. Alcohol is pleasing, but it can be deadly. Watch out, be smart and be a good influence on others.