By Steve Wallace
Alcohol is such an accepted part of American society and society in general that our title may strike some as odd. After all, so many popular, fashionable, and successful people are known to drink. Also, commercials, movies, advertisements, etc., picture drinking as something to be desired, as it seems as proper to have a drink in one’s hand in many different settings as it does to be wearing the latest fashion. Plus, it has become so socially acceptable that one can be led to think it necessary to fit in. Indeed, many Christians work with or have as relatives those who cannot think of a social gathering without a bar or a “bring your own bottle” type of invitation. When we add to all of this the seemingly endless number of brands of hard liquor, wine, and beer available, the picture is complete. Intoxicants are popular, acceptable, and accessible in our world.
In light of the above facts why would the child of God or any other person want to refrain from drinking? After all, it seems like a proper activity for anyone. Are there facts which would give us a view more balanced than that so apparent in our world?
There are, but as we approach them we must recognize that they are not as popular or widespread as the facts in our opening paragraph. The liquor industry is big business and has money for advertising and promotion necessary for such a business, that its victims and opponents usually do not have. Plus, institutions and associations that help said victims must put the bulk of their funds into the services they render rather than into publicizing the facts they glean from their work. Hence, what we say herein does not rest or rely on popular notions. Rather, it appeals to truth and fact with the hope that the reader will weigh them against the ideas common in our society. What, then, are the dangers of alcohol?
- Alcohol perverts judgment (Isa. 5:22-23). King Ahasuerus, when “merry with wine,” attempted to show his wife off before a crowd of his subjects (Esth. 1:10-11). Lot would never have committed incest had he been sober (Gen. 19:32-35). People “utter perverse things” under the influence of alcohol (Prov. 23:33). Statistics often do not show the effects alcohol has in this area. Marriages are entered into by people who have met and courted under the influence of alcohol; they later dissolve or lead to the kind of terrible homes that abused spouses and children, and criminals come from. Alcohol can cause one to wrongly invest or spend his money, think he is capable of driving, enter into strife, or make a multitude of other mistakes. Alcohol-influenced judgment leads to other sins! By contrast, sober minds are necessary for one to live the life of a Christian (1 Thess. 5:6; 1 Pet. 5:8).
- People become dependent on alcohol. The Bible warns against being “given” or “addicted” to wine (1 Tim. 3:3). The pull of drink is clearly seen herein: After experiencing the effects of it the man arises from his stupor and says, “I will seek it again” (Prov. 23:35). When hard times come, as they will to all, the one who depends on alcohol will turn to his “help.” The Christian must remember the song that says, “Savior in my joy or sorrow I will ever go to thee” (Phil. 4:11-13). If I become dependent on alcohol it will endanger my relationship with God from this standpoint alone.
- Alcohol ruins lives (Prov. 23:29-30). As one considers how popular alcohol is among the stars of Hollywood he would do well to also consider the high rate of divorce, alcoholism, and drug abuse among these people. Further examples of this point come from our experiences in Lithuania. It is common there to meet men who live on the street because their wives have thrown them out of the house because of their drinking habits. A man with ability in his profession became a crazed woman beater when under the influence of alcohol. He was later put into prison. A talented musician has ruined his marriage and chances for success because he will not keep away from alcohol. A number of brethren have tried in vain to help him. His father, by the way, died in his 40s from alcohol abuse, something not uncommon there. Such stories could be multiplied many times over in our own country. Christians are stewards who must be found faithful (1 Cor. 4:2). They must keep themselves from the blight of alcohol if they are to lead faithful lives.
Our study has touched on the social, physical, and spiritual dangers of alcohol. We have not dwelt on how drinking will harm a Christian’s influence or the high financial cost that our country is paying for alcohol abuse. However, in light of all these things, why would any Christian want to use alcohol?
2103 Rexford Rd., Montgomery, Alabama 36116
February 3, 2000