I was not planning to write a blog about this but the enormity of it struck me Christmas night. I went to a sobriety meeting to support a friend who was speaking on Christmas night. I will not name the friend or the meeting to maintain confidentiality. As I was driving home that night, it hit me the enormity of this celebration of sobriety for her. There had been holidays she did not remember and many she spent alone or with fake friends because of alcoholism and addiction. I have seen Jesus change this woman and I am so excited to be a part of her story and her life! I am excited to get to celebrate sobriety with her!
Please don’t misunderstand me here, I am not saying that having a drink at dinner is wrong or going out with friends for a drink is wrong. I do both of those things; I also do not struggle with alcoholism and addiction. I have been rethinking some things since Christmas because of my wonderful friend and her sobriety. I will no longer drink in front of a person who has struggled with alcoholism and addiction. I had no idea the position that puts them in until she told me a story about a party she went to a few days ago. She had gone to a Christmas get-together not knowing there would be alcohol. She did not drink any but found it quite awkward and from my vantage point, maybe even a little scary. I had no idea that is how someone who has struggled with these things can feel! I thought to myself, how selfish of you to think that just because they don’t want to drink it’s okay for you to drink in front of their face without asking them how they felt about it. I have drank a few times in front of people who could not because of past alcoholism or addiction and I thought I was within my “right” to do so. Truthfully, at least for me, I was just being selfish. I wish they were all here so I could apologize to them. I do have one friend that chooses not to drink that has voiced he is okay with me or others having a drink in front of him but when I think of the others, I never really asked them nor did they get a chance to say how they felt – I just drank in front of them anyway.
I want to say here that my conviction is not your conviction. You do not have to see this the way I do at all. You may also have friends like my guy friend who are okay with you having a drink in front of them. By all means, take these words for what they mean to you – I am not anyone’s conscience or Holy Spirit. I am neither condemning anyone. You do what God tells you to do and what you know to be right. I, for one, choose not to drink in front of my friends from now on who have had issues with alcohol or drugs because it just seems to make them nervous and puts them in a bad position (unless they tell me otherwise). I will never drink in front of my friend who I celebrated with at Christmas because to do so would be to put her in a bad position and potentially make her very uncomfortable. After all, I can make a choice to not have a drink – some of our friends have struggled with this or can’t say no yet if it’s put in front of them – even indirectly.
I will close by asking you in all things to think of someone besides yourself. I have not always been good at this – there are still times I mess this up. As we come closer to the new year and wind this 2018 holiday season down, celebrate with your friends and family and enjoy their company, but in doing so – do them no harm.
Romans 14:13-19 NLT; So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer (or other person) to stumble and fall.
I know and am convinced on the authority of the Lord Jesus that no food, in and of itself, is wrong to eat (or drink). But if someone believes it is wrong (or harmful to them), then for that person it is wrong. And if another believer is distressed by what you eat (or drink), you are not acting in love if you eat (or drink) it. Don’t let your eating (or drinking) ruin someone for whom Christ died. Then you will not be criticized for doing something you believe is good. For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too. So then, let us aim for harmony….and try to build each other up.
I hope all of my readers had a wonderful Christmas and have a happy and blessed New Year! Until next time, Elizabeth