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Friday, 24 January 2014

I Hereby Waive My Right

(This reading is based on Proverbs 20 and is read in accordance with the Revived by His Word initiative of the General Conference of SDAs.)

In Romans 15: 1 is articulated the spirit with which Christian individuals are often inclined to surrender their right to freely indulge in a particular activity. It says, "We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves." Notwithstanding the seeming option resident in the expression, "ought to," could it in fact be a requirement of a professed follower of Christ?

There are many who deduce an element of choice (option) in Proverbs 20: 1, "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise." The verse, many claim, does not give an explicit, "Thou shalt not...." The case for choice is further made when, especially in the New Testament persons are seemingly encouraged to moderate consumption, as opposed to outright abstinence. The expression quoted here is, "Not given to much wine." 1 Tim. 3: 8; Titus 2: 3.

Alcohol and other drug abuse on the rise among U.S. teens

But let's allow the Bible to not be explicit on the issue of alcohol consumption, and let's decide not to allow the Spirit of Prophecy to chime in on the issue. Does it seem reasonable for a Christian to allow his/her judgment to be impaired? Proverbs 31: 4 says, "It is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink. That's explicit! But you might say, 'O, but that's for royalty. But aren't we born again, adopted heirs (children) of God; a royal priesthood? John 3: 7; Rom 8: 17; 1 Pet. 2: 9. And do we not live in a context where we are like prey in the path of a hungry lion, and we're told to be SOBER (1 Pet. 5: 8)?

Finally, let's look at some of the effects of alcoholism today: broken families, carnage on the roads, loss of economic productivity (not for manufacturers of alcohol). Is it really worth it? Imagine a recovering alcoholic joining the Church and during fellowship lunch after service on Sabbath, wine is served. Do the math. By my calculations, the spirit of Romans 15: 1 would be most appropriately invoked at this stage. It's not always about pleasing ourselves; sometimes a right has to be waived for the greater good. Blessings.

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