Saturday, September 8, 2018

Beware the Mocker

“Wine is a mocker, beer is a brawler; whoever goes astray because of them is not wise.”  Proverbs 20:1

“Moderation is not the cure for the liquor problem. Becoming an alcoholic does not begin with the last drink, it always begins with the first. Just leave it alone.” – Adrian Rogers

Approximately 88,000 people in the USA die annually from alcohol-related deaths. Our country spent $249 billion related to alcohol misuse in 2010. In 2015, 27% of people 18 or older reported engaging in binge drinking in the past month. More than 10% of children live with at least one parent with an alcohol problem. 97,000 college students report experiencing sexual assault due to the influence of alcohol. And those are only the reported ones. Advertisers spend more than $750 million a year pushing alcohol.

Our former across-the-street neighbor lives a fairly miserable existence. A 50-year old alcoholic, he lives alone. His parents took away his vehicle several years ago. Living on disability with no job, he meticulously blows his driveway every morning – even in the winter – before beginning his daily drinking. He walks to the local gas station twice a day, coming home each time with a large case of beer.

As a pastor, I’ve witnessed numerous lives literally shipwrecked by the devastation of alcohol. I’ve listened to parents grieve the wasted mess of their alcoholic children’s lives. Never have I seen the use of alcohol make a life better. Though the Bible never explicitly forbids the use of alcohol, the Scriptures repeatedly speak of it with a negative context. Usually the Bible gives a warning as in today’s passage.

The Bible warns believers to live soberly and act wisely. We are to not only live for permissible actions but for beneficial ones. Jesus does not want his followers enslaved by habits or actions. We also can choose actions to benefit other people. I would not want a casual use of beer or wine to influence another person whose genetic or psychological bent may lead to addictive behavior. Let’s just leave it alone.

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