Booze...till the last drop!

to raise eyebrows

As a believer in Christ – should you tolerate the use of tobacco, alcohol, firearms, drugs or any of its form and derivatives?

Shall a Christian shun away from working on casinos or establishments offering alcoholic drinks and the like?  Is it wrong to own a store that sell these items we consider as instruments of vices or even lawlessness?

Take the case of Xin, a Chinese national who worked in a casino as dealer.  This is his expertise; this is where he earned his living for so many years.  One day he became a Christian and for awhile he thought that it’s okay since he is doing a decent living out this job.  Along the way as he grew in faith, he became more aware of his working environment promoting gambling as a way of life.  Perhaps by conviction or by other people’s prodding, he began to ponder whether he should quit his job since it apparently is inconsistent with his new-found faith. But if he does, he does not have any other work experience to find a replacement job that will sustain the needs of his family. What should he do?

This is a dilemma where there is no clear directive to follow from the scriptures.  Much like smoking – it’s not even mentioned in the bible, but we are all aware of the bad effects of smoking to our health, so it’s a personal choice whether one should harm his body or not – gauging on the fact that as a Christian, you are personally accountable to what you do to your body.  So bottom line is – does your act give honour to the Lord?

Most Christians believe its right to quit smoking, quit drinking alcohol, or even quit working in a casino – or similar establishments promoting what we perceive as “immoral”.  I said most do because I tend not to follow with that kind of thinking simply because it seem to limit the scope of grace that we as believers received and are bound to give to those in need. 

For example, what shall a Christian security guard do when he is posted in a hotel or casino or disco club or water holes or bars?  Shall he refuse the duty because it is not in line with his faith?  What about a Christian plumber or electrician or accountant or a lawyer, engineer or even a doctor, etc. shall they refuse service to any of the establishments mentioned just because it’s not aligned to their beliefs?  The obvious answer is no isn’t it?  Doesn’t that put the lowly casino dealer in equal footing for the same obvious reasons?

Though some of these vices are worse than others, I do not intend to justify the lesser evil – as in smoking.  It is my belief that even the lesser evil is still evil and should be treated as such.  However, we as believers should be more focused on dispensing grace especially to the household of faith, instead of acting as judge or executioner – as some do subconsciously.  This I say, doesn’t mean that we tolerate a wrong; instead we seek to find means by love – to address the issue, bring the erring believer into repentance and support him in his struggle to overcome.  Drug use of course is a grave vice we should not ignore nor tolerate, but we should be careful enough not to condemn nor ostracize the user.  A lot of drug users have been healed by grace dispensed through other people in the faith.  We should be do the same to the smoker, or the drunkard and the other believers who found themselves in awkward working conditions – not necessarily of their own choice but by circumstances.  I wish to remind you that for once – we are all victims of our morally depraved environment.  Some of us manage to survive and even thrive while others wallowed in the mire, still others just swayed with the motions and remain in the sidelines.  This happens naturally to the unregenerate person, but sometimes it also happens to some who have found faith in Christ.  This should not be so, because even though some have believed in the Lord, some are deceived and remain losers because they don’t know how to use the new-found freedom they have in Christ.  Worse, the church in general – looks at them in dismay and instead of strengthening their faith, some treat them with contempt.  Where is grace?

I do not advocate guns either, but it’s a tool we can not avoid to deter lawlessness.  Shall I condemn a gun-store owner for promoting an item that is common instrument for violence or abuse?  Of course not!  The scripture does not mention firearms simply because it was not invented yet during the time.  Perhaps tobacco is the same – it’s simply not yet used in circulation.  But you can read in bible numerous accounts on variety of weapons used and abused by the people of old.  Weapons are necessary tools of trade then as much as now.  Civilizations have used it even as an instrument to bring peace.  Mighty men are known of their skills in weapons and God did not prohibit its use among His people especially against their enemies.  It’s simply a fact of life, as much as what we see around us today – are facts of life.  What about the vine-dresser or the owner of the vineyard, shall they stop producing grapes because hard liquor is derived from these? Again you know the answer.  Look, what defiles a man are things in his heart – as the Lord said.  Not what he eat or drink or work on.  You may say – well what about a Christian gangster?  You know it doesn’t go by that name but there are impostors and false believers – then that is the same as gangster – it is detestable!  But take note that a gangster is a victim by choice, it’s pre-meditated, it came from the heart.  You don’t become a gangster by accident.  They are victims in the waiting; it’s just a matter of time.

Yes, there are Christians who smoke, drink, curse, steal, work in unlikely places, commit adultery, do drugs, do other indecent acts, etc. it’s a shame! But we are not to condemn them nor approve their ways.  We are to accept them with grace, embrace them into our fold; forgive and show them a better way, in patience and in love.  This should be an opportunity for us to display the fruit of the Holy Spirit in us.  That is what we are here for.  Do you enjoy the freedom brought about by Christ’s love and acceptance despite knowing you’re not worthy of it?  Then go and do likewise.  God loved us the way we are; just leave the judging and convicting to God.  We are not qualified for the job.  It’s not even hinted in our job description!  After all we are meant to be good witnesses of His grace!  Just do what the Lord says.  The things that are vague, the issues not clearly defined, the rough edges in us – just leave it to the Master, and trust that He knew what He is doing!  Just do it, you’ll feel better!

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