I am my brother's keeper
Someone recently e-mailed me because they disagreed with the views I expressed in my article "What does the Bible says about alcohol?" Here is the first line from their letter: "I am a Christian and I do not see anything wrong with drinking an alcoholic beverage within moderation. However I know that drinking to the point of intoxication is strictly forbidden by the Bible and therefore I drink responsibly."
Now, my stand on alcohol is that Christians should abstain from drinking it altogether, whereas this person believes in "drinking responsibly." So I thought I would write this paper and share reasons why I believe that we Christians have a responsibility and an obligation to not drink alcohol at all. And what I will share also applies to why we should not engage in certain fashions, trends, or lifestyles. All of what you will read leads to one final conclusion: I AM MY BROTHER'S KEEPER.
* We are at liberty in the Lord, but we still have to be aware of how our actions affect others
People will often say, Well, I can wear what I want or drink what I want or do what I want because I'm not under law. I'm under grace. But the Bible shows us something else that we need to consider:
Romans 14:21, "It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak."
1 Corinthians 8:11-13, "And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend."
1 Corinthians 10:23, "All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not."
Alcohol has caused countless numbers of people to experience death, heartache, broken homes, sinful mistakes. You name it. Obviously a whole lot of people are stumbling because of it. Instead of justifying your drinking, realize that someone else may be made weak because of you.
We should be aware of the image we portray as ambassadors of Christ. In whatever we are doing, we should ask ourselves, "Will this thing cause someone weaker in the faith confusion or alarm?" "Will this cause those who do not know the Lord to believe I am worldly?" "Will this make my kids think that I approve of them engaging in this behavior?"
* I don't want to give anyone any "ammunition" that they can use against me, and also I don't want to weaken my testimony
When we personally engage in something, to a certain extent doing it "disqualifies" us from speaking out against it. How can I tell my children not to drink alcohol if they see me drinking? How lame does it sound when they say, "But you do it," and my response is, "Oh, but I know my limits."
The Bible tells us to "Abstain from all appearance of evil" (1 Thessalonians 5:22). We are not to even give the appearance of doing something that may be judged by someone as evil. If someone sees me at a restaurant with a glass of wine in my hand, do they know whether that is my first glass or my fifth? All they see is someone drinking an alcoholic beverage. I want people to behold my good works, not my questionable behavior.
1 Peter 2:12, "Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation."
And this applies to other areas of our life, not just the appearance we give when we drink alcohol. For example, I know of an unmarried Christian woman who has a male roommate. Now, no matter how innocent their relationship is, to the world it appears that this couple is "shacking up," possibly fornicating. They are giving the appearance of evil.
We need to see our lives through the eyes of others and act in a way that glorifies God. And we need to do all we can to not give place to the devil (Ephesians 4:27) or do things that weaken our testimony as Christians.
* We are to be salt and light!
Matthew 5:13, 14 tells us, "Ye are the salt of the earth...Ye are the light of the world."
As a Christian I should be striving to set an example to others. I want to show the world that they don't need to drink to be social and happy -- they can be filled with the Holy Spirit. I want to show my brothers and sisters that they don't need to conform to this world's standards. They don't have to just blend in. What good is salt if it has lost its flavor or light that is hidden under a bushel?
Romans 12:2 "Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God."
1 Peter 2:9, "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.."
Matthew 7:13-14, "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."
This world is doing a whole lot of "broad" stuff that deals with alcohol, fashions & beliefs. I do not want to live like the world, look like the world, or agree with the world, unless, of course, the world is saying that Jesus is Lord and that He is the only way to be saved! I want to lift the world to higher standards, God's standards. I want to glorify God in all that I do. 1 Corinthians 10:31, "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."
* We are at war with Satan and are subject to spiritual wickedness
There is a war going on, and I don't want even one person to take this war lightly or be unprepared because they caught me slacking off. I don't want to give the impression that it is okay to "relax with a little wine" while the Enemy is plotting and scheming!
1 Peter 5:8, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour."
Ephesians 6:12, "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
1 Peter 2:11, "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul..."
* And, finally, for the people who insist that they drink "responsibly," can you even really trust yourselves to know when enough is enough?
How can you say you know your limits? What are you trusting, your own heart?
Jeremiah 17:9, The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Romans 13:14, "But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof."
Isaiah 28:7, "But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment."
Remember, friend, no alcoholic wanted to become an alcoholic. It all starts with a sip.
From the beginning to the end, the Bible shows us the consequences that alcohol can have. (Read 1 Corinthians 6:10.) Therefore, I refuse to see anything pleasurable in something that can have such serious repercussions for my fellow man or myself.
And as a Christian and an ambassador for God, I have a responsibility to set an example to those around me. I need to be aware of the fact that at anytime and at anyplace, I am being watched. Someone is taking note of my actions. These people who are viewing me may be family members, friends, or even total strangers. Who the person is, is of no importance. What is important is that I do not want to cause even one person to stumble in their walk because of my deeds, appearance, conversation, or habits. I am my brother's keeper.