Friday, June 1, 2018

Neither Mocked, Nor Led Astray


[Photo of a Scripture verse]

“Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever
is led astray by them is not wise.”
—Proverbs 20:1

Whenever a verse like today’s verse appears in the list I use as source material, I always have to smile, because I know how unpopular such a verse is in today’s Christian culture, not to mention the culture of the secular world.

As I have shared on this blog previously, my dear grandma, who went home to be with her Lord nearly 40 years ago at the ripe old age of 92, was a long-time leader in an organization that many of you reading this have never heard of, I’m sure: The Women’s Christian Temperance Union or WCTU. She came by that role quite naturally.

You see her husband—a man who was plagued by alcoholism at a time, back in the early part of the twentieth century, when people just called this disease “perpetual drunkenness”—in a fit of remorse over once again having squandered his meager paycheck on booze, committed suicide.

As a result of this incident that took place more than 25 years before I was born, I grew up in a home where alcoholic beverages were absolutely not tolerated. I was taught that the best way to avoid falling into the trap of alcoholism was to never take a single drink. To further reinforce this position, I grew up in a fundamentalist church where we had a long list of forbidden behaviors. Then, I attended and graduated from a Christian college where, at that time, a similar long list of forbidden activities were rigorously enforced.

Then, I entered the business world where drinking alcoholic beverages was not only tolerated, it was strongly, even vehemently, promoted. Still, I quietly, without any fanfare, held my ground. When pressed, I would simply say that my religious beliefs forbade my use of alcohol.

Imagine my chagrin today, in our current Christian culture, where even the most ardent Evangelical Christian will have an occasional glass of wine. Getting a “little buzzed” at the end of a long, hard day, is seen as “wise” and “with it.” I am even more of an “odd man out” than I was fifty years ago.

Let me hasten to add that I do not judge my fellow believers for their use of alcohol, as long as they don’t become drunk, or fall into the pit of alcoholism. They must answer to God for their behaviors, just as I must answer to God for mine. And, I am well aware that I have my own significant list of besetting sins that mark my life and for which I am constantly trying to overcome. I have neither the time nor the inclination to condemn my fellow believers in the matter of what they choose to drink, as long as they do so in moderation.

I do find it rather interesting that King Solomon apparently had observed the effects of indulgence to the point where he was prompted to write the following, as found in Proverbs 20:1:

Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.

The lesson for all of us from this verse is to make certain we are aware of the effect that our behaviors have on our lives. Have any of the things we do in our lives become a “must do, or else” If so, perhaps we should examine the grip that a particular behavior has on us. Such obsessions are rarely healthy and often are very destructive over the long haul.

Instead, we should choose to promote habits that will feed our spiritual needs. For once our spiritual needs are met, our other needs seem to fall into proper perspective. At least, it’s worth considering. Okay


Copyright © 2018 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.