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Saturday, May 28, 2016

Why You'll Never See Alcohol in My Hands

I have read several posts on social media platforms from Christians expressing their reasons they drink and I have been asked why I don't drink and also why I have such a strong conviction about it even though the Bible doesn't specifically say I can't drink. I want to make it clear that I am in no way standing in judgment of you nor am I condemning you if  that is what you choose to do. Just answering some questions...Enjoy!
     Why you'll never see alcohol in my hands.

1) Alcoholism is a disease that runs in my family and I can reduce my risks of becoming an alcoholic by not drinking. Cancer is also a disease that runs in my family and there are certain things I don't do because I know they increase the chance of getting cancer; e.g., smoking.  No, there is no guarantee but I am willing to do all I can to reduce the risk.
     My father was an alcoholic, sadly the disease got the best of him and eventually took his life at the age of 55! My mother was a social alcoholic or binge drinker and that eventually led her to drug abuse. My mom had several underlying ailments that contributed to her getting drunk on the weekends and some week nights. She was self medicating with these drugs and that lifestyle eventually took her life at the age of 55, just 2 years after my dad passed away. Alcohol meant drunken rages in our home. Alcohol led to drugs. Alcohol was more important than food in our house at times. Alcohol was their way of having "fun". It was their vice, which they couldn't likve without.
    I was taught that as long as I was with my mom I could drink and that started when I was 12! However, if I decided to drink and my mom wasn't around I would get in trouble...this sent mixed signals about alcohol. I was told I could have it but then I couldn't. By the time I was 15, I was getting drunk every weekend and by the time I was a sophomore in high school, vodka was my daily nutrition! Every day I had to have it to cope with life (That's another story to tell).  When I became a mom my drinking habits changed dramatically and I became a social drinker/alcoholic, drinking on the weekends, most of the time I got drunk and did stupid stuff like fighting (that for me was the problem). All that changed when I gave my life to Jesus at 28 years old. God revealed the drinking problem I had and that it didn't glorify Him, so I put the bottle down and haven't had a drink in many years. Praise the Lord!
    I know there are people who are going to say, "But I don't have that problem. I drink because I like a glass of wine or a beer with my meal." Again, that is your experience, not mine.

2)  As a Christian I am not to cause another to stumble.
    1 Corinthians 8:9, "But be careful that this right of yours in no way becomes a stumbling block to the weak."
People may argue that I've taken this verse out of context, because Paul was talking about foods that were offered to idols not alcohol. I understand that, however if you read scripture and say, "Well that doesn't apply to me because I'm not drinking or eating foods that are being offered to idols." I just ask that you read these scriptures and ask the Holy Spirit to teach you. Nothing we put in our bodies makes us acceptable or unacceptable to God...Our faith in Christ is how we are acceptable to God, period. That is not my point. If I know that my brother is struggling with alcoholism and I have a drink because it's my right and I don't struggle, is my drinking going to cause him to stumble? AM I responsible to him? My one drink may not cause him to stumble but I am to be mindful/careful of all people around me.
If I invite my Muslim friend to my home for dinner and I offer her bacon, what would that say to them? It would be offensive #1! It could cause them to consider defiling their own conscience to please me, the host. Even though I know that what I put in my body doesn't defile me to offer it to my friend is wrong. The whole point of not causing another to stumble is about respecting others beliefs and not looking down on them for not doing what I do or don't.

3) As a Christian I am to encourage and build up my brothers and sisters in Christ, as well as unbelievers. In my days of drinking/drunkenness I definitely did not encourage anyone! It was all about ME and my flesh getting a "fix". Whether I used the excuse that I needed a break from my kids and just wanted to relax a bit, it was all about ME. What made ME feel good! What made ME feel happy! What made ME "loosen up" a bit after a hard work week. AGAIN, I am not condemning anyone who has a drink! I am simply stating my convictions.
In seeking to build up one another, I must be mindful of what I do or don't do in the sight of another.

     1 Corinthians 10:23-24, "Everything is permissible, but not everything is helpful. Everything is permissible but not everything builds up. No one should seek his own good, but the good of the other person."
Bottom line, all that I do or don't do is about building the other person up.

4) As a Christian I am to do everything in my power to bring honor and glory to my Lord so that many people may be saved.
     1 Corinthians 10:31-33 (HCSB), "Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God’s glory. Give no offense to the Jews or the Greeks or the church of God, just as I also try to please all people in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, so that they may be saved." (This includes eating too. Overeating is a sin just as drunkenness and it is not glorifying to the Lord.) Paul wrote the Church at Corinth (Talking to Christians) about what was acceptable to one, may not be acceptable to another, however the bottom line and His main point is that WHATEVER YOU DO, DO IT FOR GOD'S GLORY!
     Acts 20:24 (HCSB), "But I count my life of no value to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of God’s grace."
When was the last time having a beer led someone to the Lord? Or even brought true glory to His name?

I am thankful that my God convicted me and I am walking with Him in a truth orgthat has set me free! I would be lying if I told you I never struggle. When my friends or family are having a drink, I would like to partake but I simply can't and I have to pray that God gives me the strength to just say, "No, thank you."

One last thing, each of us have differing opinions about alcohol and that is fine but I will never let our differences get in the way of relationships. I am a firm believer that we can agree to disagree.

If you struggle with alcoholism, drug abuse
or any other form of addiction you can visit the following websites for more help.
alcoholism as a disease