By Gary L Coles
Brad Johnson was just an average 17 year old boy. He was a senior at the Midway Senior High School, and was looking forward to attending Community College the following fall. He was an above average football player and had a decent shot at getting a football scholarship. His girl-friend, Kathy, was also planning to attend Community College. Brad and Kathy had been dating for about a year and were falling in love with each other. Yes, all was right in Brad’s little world.
One Friday night Brad and Kathy decided to attend a party that one of Brad’s friends was having at his house. On the way, Kathy reminded Brad to take it easy on the drinking. Brad assured Kathy that he would only have a couple of beers, just to be sociable.
When they arrived at the party, they noticed there was a lot of noise and activity. In fact, the noise was deafening. At first, Kathy just thought everyone was having a good time. However, as she surveyed the room, she noticed a large group of people standing around a table. As she and Brad walked closer to the table, she saw why. Lined neatly in a row were three beer kegs. Kathy immediately grabbed Brad’s arm and pleaded with him to leave. Brad laughed and assured Kathy that everything would be all right. The guys were just having a good time. At that moment Brad’s friend, Kirk, brought him and Kathy a glass filled with beer. Brad took the glass and drained it with a few quick swallows. Kathy glared at Brad in disbelief and refused to accept the glass of beer that Kirk was offering her. Brad laughed at her and proceeded to drain her glass as well. Kathy just shook her head and left Brad to sit by herself on the sofa. Brad just shrugged his shoulders and told Kirk that Kathy was a teetotaler. Kirk and Brad laughed and went to get some more beer.
For the rest of the evening Kathy sat by herself on the sofa. She could not believe how Brad was behaving. This was not the Brad she had fallen in love with. She thought about calling her father and asking him to come and pick her up. She decided against doing that. It might embarrass Brad.
Finally, at two in the morning, the party began to break up. Brad went to the sofa and asked Kathy if she were ready to go home. Kathy noticed that Brad’s speech was slurred and that he was weaving around a bit. On the way to the car, Kathy asked Brad to let her drive him home. Brad wouldn’t have it. He insisted that he was fine and told Kathy to shut up and get into the car. Kathy was deeply hurt by the way Brad had just spoken to her. Her first thought was to burst into tears and run away as quickly as she could. She knew that getting in the car with Brad in his drunken condition was foolish. Nevertheless, she got into the car anyway.
On the way home Kathy asked Brad to pull over and let her drive. Brad again insisted that he was fine. Kathy knew better. Brad was weaving all over the road. Kathy became frightened and began to wonder if they would get home safely.
Suddenly, for some unexplained reason, the car was out of control. Brad frantically tried to regain control. Unfortunately, his drunken condition would not allow it. For a moment he thought he was about to regain control, when suddenly the car veered to the right and off the road. For just a moment he glanced over at Kathy and noticed that she had raised her arms up to protect her face and began to scream. He looked ahead and saw why. Just a few feet ahead a huge oak tree stood in their path. Brad put both feet on the brake pedal and pushed as hard as he could. It didn’t do any good. He next heard the sickening sound of metal crunching, glass breaking, and a blood curdling scream. Then everything went black.
When Brad regained consciousness, he found himself on a table in the emergency room of the Community Hospital. A doctor was standing over him with a light checking his eyes. The doctor asked Brad a few questions to determine if Brad had suffered any brain trauma. The doctor then told Brad how lucky he was to be alive. He informed Brad that he only had a few scrapes and bruises and was free to go.
As Brad was sitting up and preparing to leave, he suddenly thought of Kathy. He asked one of the nurses if the girl that had been with him was all right. He noticed a hesitancy in the nurse’s response. She told him that his father and mother were waiting in a waiting room down the hall. They could answer any questions he might have.
When Brad walked into the waiting room, he saw his mother sitting on the sofa crying and his father looking out the window. When Brad’s mother saw him, she immediately ran to him, embraced him and asked if he was ok. Brad said that he was fine and proceeded to ask about Kathy. Brad’s mother returned to the sofa sobbing and his father continued to look silently out the window.
Brad’s heart began to race and tears began streaming down his face as feelings of dread and remorse began to envelop him. Then his father turned from the window and asked him to go with him. As they were walking down the hall, Brad noticed the stern steel expression that was on his father’s face. Brad asked his father several questions about Kathy. His father just ignored him and continued his silent walk down the hospital hallway.
They came to a set of double doors that would take them into the ICU. Brad’s heart began to leap with joy. She’s not dead, he told himself, she’s only hurt. Brad noticed that at the end of the hall was a large observation room. As they got closer, he saw that there was a lot of activity in the room. When they reached the window, Brad’s father turned to Brad and asked him to look into the room.
As Brad looked into the room, he saw a person lying on a strange looking table. Going into this person were all types of wires, tubes and hoses. A few of the wires appeared to be connected to some type of screws that had been embedded into this person’s skull.
A nurse moved and then he was able to see the face of the person lying on the table. Brad’s stomach began to twist and turn. His vision became blurred by tears. The person lying on the table was Kathy. Brad could see that Kathy’s beautiful long blond hair had been shaved so the screws could be placed into her skull. His beautiful sweet Kathy remained motionless on the table.
Brad’s father finally began to speak. He told Brad that Kathy had suffered a spinal cord injury. Her spine had been severed. She would never walk again. In fact, she was permanently paralyzed from the neck down.
Brad fell to his knees and began to sob uncontrollably. His beautiful Kathy, the girl he loved with all his heart, the girl he planned to marry one day, would be unmercifully trapped in a motionless body for the rest of her life, all because of his stupidity. Why hadn’t he listened to Kathy when she pleaded with him to leave the party? Why hadn’t he allowed her to drive him home? His pride and arrogance had done this. His concern about his “Big Man” image had tragically shattered Kathy’s life.
Brad’s father looked down at his son lying prostrate on the floor and placed his hand on Brad’s shoulder and said, “Son, I truly believe your pain and suffering will far surpass Kathy’s.”
The preceding story dramatically depicts a tragedy that is taking place in our country today. Millions of our young people are falling into the Teen Trap of drinking alcoholic beverages. Many teens believe that drinking makes them look grown up and will enhance their status among their peers. This way of thinking has created a trap from which many teens never escape.
Statistics seem to show that drinking among teens is a significant problem. Of the 20.7 million 7th through 12th grade students nationwide, 10.6 million say they have drunk an alcoholic beverage. That is 50%. This same survey revealed that eight million of these students drink weekly.
Beer is by far the most popular alcoholic drink of teens today. This is primarily due to the easy access of beer. Minors illegally consume more than one billion beers each year.
Young people are also operating under the mistaken notion that beer is a harmless drink. They don’t realize that one can of beer, five ounces of wine, or one wine cooler has roughly the alcohol equivalent of one shot of vodka. Most young people do not know that a 12 ounce can of beer has the same amount of alcohol as one shot of whiskey.
What about the young people in the church today? Are they truly aware of the dangers of drinking? Have we as parents and leaders in the church, done an effective job in convincing our young people that drinking alcoholic beverages is not something a Christian does?
So often I have heard people say, “The Bible does not explicitly condemn the moderate drinking of alcoholic beverages.” Oh really! Please take note of Philippians 2:15: “that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among who you appear as lights in the world.” You tell me how a Christian can possibly comply with this passage of Scripture while standing around with a can of beer in his hand?
Unfortunately, many Christian parents have been setting a very poor example for their children. By their example, they have been saying to their children, “Go ahead, drink up, there’s no problem.” Then, when their children find themselves in a similar dilemma as illustrated in our story, they hang their head in sorrow and disbelief and ignorantly say, “Why did this happen .. . where did I go wrong?” It is time for Christians to wake up and see that drinking is not only dangerous and stupid it’s sinful!
In 1 Corinthians 5:5 we are told, “Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough?” For too many years, many congregations have been entirely too tolerant of social drinking. Many have placed drinking in that nebulous category, often called a “gray area.”
Our Bible classes and pulpits are going to have to do a better job of convincing people that abstinence is the only scriptural approach to drinking. Throwing a few Scriptures at an audience or a class is not going to convince anyone. Unfortunately, too many have become too calloused for that approach to work anymore. Preachers and teachers must powerfully and dramatically show the destructive effects of drinking. Furthermore, preachers and teachers need to take the Bible and use it to present an irrefutable argument against drinking. Finally, elders need to discipline those individuals who stubbornly refuse to comply with God’s teaching on this matter. Doing this may help some of our young people to avoid the teen trap of drinking.
Guardian of Truth XXXIX: No. 20, p. 6-8
October 19, 1995