Drinkin, Smokin & Cussin : What Christians Get Wrong About Sin
I grew up in a very conservative house and church environment. I was taught that alcohol, cigarettes, cussing, tattoos and lots of other stuff were simply out of bounds. I spent my entire teen years basically believing that any Christian who drank alcohol was a backslider and wasn’t living the way God would want, or that any music with the D word in it was music I should stay far away from.
As I grew up and came into my own as a Christ follower I started to realize something. We Christians tend to make up a heck of a lot of stuff. So many Christians take half of a verse and force it fit their narrative. Over the years Christians have chosen a few things to rally against. Not necessarily because it’s in the Bible, but well, because we wanted to.
Without getting overly political, I would ask you to let me explain my logic further. I recently heard the very famous radio host Rush Limbaugh say “blaming a gun for murder is like blaming a fork for obesity.” Love him or hate him, he is so right on this one. I am convinced that Christians have become way to concerned about blaming and fighting against the thing or object and we’ve lost sight of what sin really is. Alcohol is not a sin. It can’t be. It’s an inanimate object. Cigarettes are not a sin. They are just a thing. Sin enters when you lose focus and let anything in your life get out of control.
As I began to dive deeper into God’s plan for Christians, I quickly realized that that are very few THINGS OR OBJECTS that God forbids. In almost every instance I can find God blames the person for going too far with something good and not the object or thing they were using. God didn’t blame sex for David’s affair, he blamed David for not controlling himself. Take the 10th commandment for example. There is no “sin” in looking at a woman (your neighbors wife) and recognizing that she is physically beautiful. It’s what you do with that information that matters. In fact, I would argue that each one of the 10 commandments deals with the heart as opposed to the object. If the 7th commandment (thou shalt not kill) is to be taken at face value, than every member of our military who has been in real combat has broken that commandment. My point is that God cares far more about the heart and where our focus is than the thing or activity. Murder is wrong. Justifiable killing to protect your family and country is not.
If you are a Christian who believes that all alcohol or any kind of man made stimulate is a sin because it can ‘control’ you, than you should apply that same logic to your job. Sure those things like alcohol, tobacco, and drugs can take over someone’s life and ruin families, but so can work. Millions of families are torn apart by a spouse or parent who works too much. But you won’t hear many Christians saying we shouldn’t work at all simply because some people have taken it way to far. You won’t see many Christians handing out tracks that say “the fork is from the devil”, even though obesity is nearly just as dangerous as anything else in our world.
My understanding is that there are very few objects or things that are in and of themselves a sin. What I think we need is churches and Christians, who are focused on self control and the heart. Telling people that even good things like work, food and alcohol can be used for evil. It’s not about the alcohol or the cigarette or even the cuss word. In fact, it’s not about the things at all. It’s always and will always be about the person and the heart behind the use of those things.
I believe that if your life is focused on Jesus, if you are doing everything you can to reach more people for the gospel, and you are talking care of your responsibilities than you are living exactly how God designed you to live. Having a drink, working hard, smoking, even throwing out the occasional “cuss” word has nothing to do with sin. Those things are simply objects. Objects that cannot sin.
Before I get off my high horse let me say this. I’m not a freeforaller. I don’t believe Christians should be doing anything that takes their focus from our real purpose. But I don’t appreciate being told that when I’m having a glass of wine, I’m not glorifying my creator. I don’t like when Christians take the leap of saying certain things, that frankly our Christian culture has decided are wrong, are off limits and Christians should never do them. I believe 100% in the Bible. If it says it, I’m going to do it. What I don’t believe in is the false logic and the “this is what God meant” mentality many Christians have decided is gospel. Instead of preaching to control ourselves in every area of life, we Christians have come up with our own list of commandments. We spend so much of our time, telling people about our list of do’s and don’ts that we forget about what really matters.
If you don’t drink, cuss or smoke, good for you. But please don’t be that Christian who sits back and and judges people based on these objects. God is concerned with our focus, motives and heart, not so much the things we participate in. Enjoy the things God has allowed to come into your life and whether it’s alcohol, work, food or whatever, remember not to get caught up blaming things for your bad behavior. Only you are to blame when anything in your life gets out of control. Just like a gun is not responsible for the murder, the object is most often not responsible for your sin. You are.