On January 15, 2013 the county where I live in (Lyon) will be taking a vote on whether to allow the selling of alcohol in its stores, gas stations, restaurants etc. As a Christian, I want to express why I will vote "NO" to the selling of alcohol in the county where I live.
First of all, I want to strongly state that alcohol in itself is not a sin (Psalm 104:14-15). Jesus' first miracle was turning water into wine,
providing the guests with more to drink.(John 2:1-11). Solomon in his writings in Ecclesiastes (9:7) recommends to us to eat, drink and be merry and even Paul
recommended Timothy to mix some wine into his diet to help with his
stomach. (I Timothy 5:23). My flesh wishes that Jesus never drank, but the Scripture is clear, Jesus drank wine as did most Jews who were not under the Nazarene law. He was even called a drunkard and glutton by those that hated Him (Matthew 11:19) (Just for clarity's sake, He wasn't either of the two.) Therefore, we must see and admit that alcohol is not a sin, to do otherwise is to twist Scripture.
That being said, God has given us many gifts for our enjoyment, one of them being alcohol. Unfortunately, man being the sinful being he is, will always twist and pervert the gifts that God has blessed us with. Always!
The prophet Jeremiah mentions man's heart as being sick and deceitful (17:9). Jesus tells us that out of our heart comes evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, and adultery (Mark 7:21). Even in sin we were born (Psalm 51:5)! Paul elaborates and restates certain parts of the Psalms and parts of Isaiah that say that there is NOT one good person (Romans 3:10-18) Not one! Therefore, we must agree that man is inherently evil. That man does not err on the side of good, but on the side that is bad. Making alcohol legal isn't going to make man a better person, he can't become better in himself. None of us can, it is only through Jesus' blood that man is made righteous (Romans 5:9) Even if our intentions are good, man will always find a way to rebel against God and pervert that which is good.
God knows us, even more than we know ourselves and that is why He has constructed boundaries regarding His gifts.When it comes to food, God warns us not to make our stomach our god (Phillipians 3:19). When it comes to sex, Jesus commands that it be between one man and one woman (Matthew 19:4) and for our enjoyment. The book of Proverbs advices spouses to enjoy each other (5:19) and even Paul (a celibate) advices married couples not to go too long without sex (I Corinthians 7:5) and let us not forget the whole book of the Song of Solomon. So again we see that God has given us good things to enjoy but we see that man has made it into a mess. With food, we see the rising of disease and obesity, the enslavement of people on diets and the weariness of counting calories. With sex, we see struggling single mothers, disease, heartache, abortion, homosexuality, incest, rape and loneliness. With alcohol, we see the rise of violence, depression, loneliness, spousal and child abuse and suicide. We take what God has given us and twist it, thus adding to our pain and suffering. We take the things that are meant to give us a taste of His glory, and make it our god. We allow the creation to take the place of the Creator.
God's Word warns us plenty of times of the outcome of drunkenness (Galatians 5:19-21). Jesus warns us of the trap it is and ties it with depression (Luke 21:34). It takes away understanding (Hosea 4:11), impairs our judgement (Isaiah 28:7), it brings poverty (Priverbs 23:20-21), and sadly it keeps us from inheriting the kingdom of God (I Corinthians 6:9-10).
But I want to add another warning the Bible gives clearly and it is to those that do not have a drinking problem like me. Paul speaks about this in I Corinthians 8 and 10. In these passages Paul is talking about food or drink sacrificed to idols and the freedoms found in mature Christians. (This is perfect example for me because I am very strong when it comes to abstaining from drinking alcohol, but pathetically weak when it comes to over-eating) As a mature Christian, I am free to eat and drink and to enjoy God's gifts, but NEVER at the expense of my Christian brothers and sisters. Just like my thinner Christian sisters (with no eating disorders) shouldn't make it easy for me to sin with food by telling me to eat and eat and be merry; I shouldn't either make it easy for my brothers and sisters in Christ when it comes to drinking. As a mature Christian I need to worry about the good of others before I think of myself. (I Corinthians 10:24) - In other words, me being able to buy my beer after mowing the lawn is not as important as helping my Christian brothers or sisters who struggle with alcohol. We don't invite a struggling glutton to a buffet, just like we don't invite a struggling drunkard for a drink. (Romans 14:21) It is hard to see the weaknesses of others and it is very easy to be selfish, but again Paul warns us to watch out for the weak and if we cause them to sin, that that sin is a sin against Christ. (I Corinthians 8:12)
Besides several statistics that speak of the rise of violence, theft and abuse that spring forth from alcohol (all of which is spoken of in the God's Word. For other references see: Proverbs 20:1, 23:29-35, Isaiah 5:22; I Corinthians 5:11; many more) We must be our brother's keeper and not make it easy for man to indulge in their sin. Habakkuk 2:15a tells us: "Woe to him who makes his neighbors drink". That verse then mentions how that is like pouring our wrath over them so we can see their nakedness (or their debauchery) and laugh at them.
Are there people out there that are responsible drinkers that just want to enjoy life differently than me? Yes, of course. But the Christian cannot use the defense, "Why should I suffer because others do not know how to drink." On the contrary our mind should be, "I would rather suffer not being able to drink because others don't know Him the way I do".
That is why I CANNOT knowingly look the other way and vote YES, knowing that I have provided a stumbling block to others.
If alcohol remains illegal to sell, I will praise God and continue to try to be a light to this dark world. If alcohol becomes legal to sell, I will praise God and continue to try to be a light to this dark world. Either way alcohol will not affect me, but it is not about me. It is about Him first and others second. We are all accountable for our actions. I pray that the Holy Spirit leads you in your decision on whether to vote yes or no on the selling of alcohol.
I leave you with this passage in Ephesians 5:18-20:
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Filled with Him (not wine), :-)