We have some members who are alcoholics. Some struggle a lot with alcohol and lose the battle repeatedly. Some, on the other hand, struggle but are making a courageous decision to stay sober each and every day as they rely on the power of the Holy Spirit through prayer and others holding them accountable. It is a beautiful thing!
Due to the fact that we have members who are fighting against alcoholism, my stance on social drinking has been very firm especially for those who are serving in a leadership capacity: no drinking in public period!
However, as I watched and observed New Life members over the years especially at wedding receptions taking place outside of our church facility, I have come to realize that there are many faithful and committed followers of Christ who also enjoy a glass of wine without abusing it. This, too, is a beautiful thing!
We know from Scripture that Jesus was not against people drinking wine and having a great time. His first miracle, in fact, was turning water into wine at a wedding banquet in Cana. Unfortunately, Satan always takes things to the extreme and ruins people’s lives. There is no such thing as self-control or moderation in Satan’s vocabulary. He came to kill, steal and destroy us by always taking us to extremes. Therefore, Scripture also tells us that everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial and it challenges us to do what is beneficial for others. This means that if social drinking hurts those around us we must be willing to give it up. This is love. Love is limiting your own freedom for the sake of others.
Just recently, I found out that some members of New Life waited until a wedding reception was over so they could drive other members home who had a little bit too much to drink. This, too, is a beautiful thing!
However, I would like for all members of New Life to follow these instructions in regards to alcohol:
- No one drinks alcohol during New Life’s official church-wide events. No brainer here!
- If you are a member, don’t get drunk in public. The Bible is clear on this: “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery.” (Eph. 5:18)
- When in doubt, take the conservative approach. Some people will stumble if you drink publicly. But no one will stumble if you abstain from alcohol completely.
- Let’s be like Jesus! Learn to enjoy people over wine, not the other way around. I will sound very revolutionary as a Southern Baptist pastor. But I will say it anyway because I am not contradicting the scripture. Have a glass of wine if it will help you appreciate people and enhance the joy factor more in your gathering. However, do not hurt or destroy others through your freedom in Christ. Always be mindful of others who are with you and around you. And choose to do things that will build them up, not tear them down.
For those “young” members of New Life who got drunk during the most recent wedding reception to a point where others had to drive you home, I will let it go this time. However, if it happens again and I find out about it, then I will have to have you come into my office and have a talk with you. Am I threatening you? No! I am warning you! I trust that you will not make me do that.
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