Today’s Scripture: We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me. Romans 15:1-3
Some people say that alcohol is a cultural issue, that only some evangelicals in America have a problem with drinking. While that is mostly true, I would hasten to say that the church is more alive, fundamental, and true to Scripture in the US than in other parts of the world. In countries like France where wine is consumed in moderation with every meal throughout the day, the drinking style can lead to a constant presence of alcohol in the body. While few appear to be drunk, with no overt signs of intoxication, many French people find themselves unable to abstain from alcohol. There are millions of French people who have developed alcoholism without ever getting drunk. What is not apparent to the casual observer is that France spends 42% of its total health budget on the treatment of alcohol related illnesses, and 50% of all hospital beds in France are occupied by patients suffering from alcoholism.
One woman who lived in a secret hell wrote, “I finally discovered that I had not planned to become an alcoholic when I took my first drink. It’s just the way it was. I didn’t mean to hurt my family and friends.”
This problem is not just cultural, but world-wide. One thing that we know is this: alcohol produces alcoholics. Some people might be able to control it, but some people cannot. For the sake of the weaker brother, even if we could not prove anything Biblically about this, which I think we can, we should still abstain because alcohol produces alcoholics. Fifty percent of children that come out of alcoholic families become alcoholics themselves.
So, whether a person becomes an alcoholic or not, avoiding the first drink depends on us. Some churches serve intoxicating wine in their communion services, and if we never know who will become an alcoholic or be unable to handle it, then aren’t we aiding that? If someone is reformed from it, aren’t we helping them return to it as a dog to its vomit? This is a serious problem that we cannot be a part of.
Devotional by Jim Scudder, Jr.