This one is for those who like to “tip the bottle” as the saying goes. I want to write about the dangers of alcoholism. Many, many Americans like to consume alcohol. Although the Bible does not specifically say “do not drink alcohol” (it does not say “don’t smoke marijuana either, but it does say “be sober” at all times, hard to be sober when you are as high as a kite) It does teach us on the dangers of alcoholism. The classic rebuttals when speaking of alcoholism are, 1) “Jesus turned water into wine, and people drank at the wedding, since He said nothing to them about drinking, it must be okay“. 2) “Paul tells Timothy to have a little wine because of his stomach ailment (he never told him to get hammered), therefore, it is okay to consume alcohol“. I have heard some people say that “the wine during the Old T. and New T. days was not alcoholic. It was more like our modern day grape juice“. I will not get in that debate. It was strong enough to make Noah drunk, as well as Lot. I have consumed a lot of grape juice in my day but it has never made me drunk.
I want to clarify another thing. Before I accepted Christ and was born again, I was a binge drinker. I did not “drink” socially because I was not old enough. I would drink on weekends with the sole purpose of getting drunk. I knew that it could not be good for a person because of the way it made me feel the next day. I swore off drinking every time and then I was right back at it. That was because I was a slave to sin and could not stop even if I had wanted to do it. I did not know it then but I am thrilled to see, now that I look back, that I was set free from that slavery through faith in Christ. I just want to present the stats and what the Word of God have to say about alcohol.
- Alcohol — including beer, wine, and hard liquor – are the most commonly used and widely abused psychoactive drug in the country.
- Alcohol is the most widely tried drug among teenagers. Over 50% of 8th graders and 8 out of 10 12th graders report having tried alcohol. Many teenagers report binge drinking — in 1995, 30% of 12th graders surveyed reported binge drinking (5+drinks in a sitting) in the previous 2 weeks. Even young teens report irresponsible use of alcohol — 25% of 8th graders have been drunk.
- Alcohol use is widespread, although the per capita consumption has varied from decade to decade. While U.S. consumption of alcoholic beverages increased after World II, since 1981 it has declined slightly. But even with declines in alcohol use, two of three American adults drink alcoholic beverages. About half of all alcohol consumed in this country is ingested by heavy drinkers, estimated to be between 6.5 and 10 percent of the total population. The extent and frequency with which these individuals drink cause serious health and behavioral problems—disrupting their own lives and that of their family, friends, and employers—and also extracts a heavy societal toll.
- Alcohol use is involved in:
- One-half of all murders, accidental deaths, and suicides
- One-third of all drowning, boating and aviation deaths
- One-half of all crimes
- Almost half of all fatal automobile accidents
- The health problems associated with alcohol include brain damage, cancer, heart disease, and cirrhosis of the liver. (http://www.drug-rehabs.org/alcohol-c.htm)
That is what the stats say about alcohol and its dangers in the USA. Now I would like to take a look at the Word of God, the Bible, and see what He (God) has to say on the subject and what connections we can make with His Word and the above mentioned stats.
Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, And whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise (Proverbs 20:1)
First of all, God calls wine a “mocker”. The origin of the Hebrew word translated as “mocker” means gloomy. Wine promises to “lift your spirits” and usually does for a time yet as the effects wear off, the mood turns “gloomy” quickly. How many people say that they drink just to “get away from everything and let loose”? How do they usually feel when the effects of the alcohol wear off? How many people wake up the next day and are embarrassed or ashamed saying, “why in the world did I ever do that?” Strong drink is a synonym for alcohol and it is a brawler. The meaning of the word “brawler” is “to distract, to confuse, to enrage”. Strong drink can distract you for a time, but it also confuses, and enrages. How many people are down right mean when they drink? That is not a coincidence. Those who over consume alcohol are mocked, confused, and not wise. This is what God says on the subject and according to the stats that we saw earlier, it is not wise to over consume alcohol.
Listen, my son, and be wise, And direct your heart in the way. Do not be with heavy drinkers of wine, Or with gluttonous eaters of meat ; For the heavy drinker and the glutton will come to poverty, And drowsiness will clothe one with rags. (Proverbs 23:19-21)
Directing your heart in the right way, God’s way, will lead you away from heavy drinkers. If you are following God then you will not be deceived by those who drink heavily (although, those who drink will always try to get you to join them). We saw earlier that those who over consume alcohol are “not wise”. Here we see why they are not wise, because they will come to poverty. Alcoholism and poverty go hand in hand. I find it fascinating that in the poorer sections of towns (whether big or small) is where you can find the most liquor stores. Do you think that it is a coincidence? The Bible says that the 2 (poverty and alcoholism) go hand in hand.
Who has woe ? Who has sorrow ? Who has contentions ? Who has complaining ? Who has wounds without cause ? Who has redness of eyes ? Those who linger long over wine, Those who go to taste mixed wine. Do not look on the wine when it is red, When it sparkles in the cup, When it goes down smoothly ; At the last it bites like a serpent And stings like a viper. Your eyes will see strange things And your mind will utter perverse things. And you will be like one who lies down in the middle of the sea, Or like one who lies down on the top of a mast. “They struck me, but I did not become ill ; They beat me, but I did not know it. When shall I awake ? I will seek another drink.” (Proverbs 23:29-35)
Look at the results of alcoholism.
- wounds without cause (I remember waking up with those)
- redness of eyes
This is not the way of life of a follower of God. Are all or some of these a way of life for you? Do you linger long over wine? Do not be deceived by the wine (alcohol) and its many promises.
- it is red and enticing
- it sparkles in the cup
- it goes down smoothly
- it bites like a serpent and stings like a viper
Can you identify with any of the following feelings?
- your eyes see strange things
- your mind will utter perverse things (again, the next morning, why and how did I end up doing that?)
- like lying down in the middle of the sea (the world is moving around you)
- beaten and struck but feeling no pain
- you awake and seek another drink
Let us take a look at the eternal outcome of those who are controlled by alcohol.
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God ? Do not be deceived ; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
The bad news is that those who are controlled by alcohol will not inherit the kingdom of God. If you are controlled by alcohol then as Paul says, “do not be deceived”. If there is no change then you will not inherit the kingdom of God. The good news of the Gospel is that if you are controlled by alcohol, you can be forgiven and transformed, set free from alcohol’s slavery over you. Jesus Christ has done everything for you and all you have to do is receive His offer. He will transform you from the inside out. My prayer is that you will be wise and walk in the ways of the Lord and not be deceived by the dangers of alcoholism.