Tuesday Talk is about YOU…
Every Tuesday we engage in one big question, topic or idea. You are invited to write in with a suggestion you want to share. I surely do not have all the answers but know that together we can generate some great conversation and have fun in the process. (Feel free to post your topics, questions, and your great thoughts in the comments below!) Together, we will stay informed and equipped about topics that matter!
Tuesday Talk Question – A member of my congregation was chastised by another senior member of our church for having a glass of wine with dinner. I personally see nothing scripturally wrong with this but others do. Several pieces of scripture come to mind for both sides of the story. I’m curious what other women feel about alcohol and Christians.
Thank you for asking such profound and relevant questions! Way to challenge me and our readers!
What I see here are two distinct issues or questions:
1) Issue: A church member chastising another church member for having a class of wine with dinner.
2) Question: Is it morally right for Christians to drink?
1) The issue. As you reflect about this issue I want you to remember our framework for answering the question – God Holy Scripture. I would like you to think clearly about the way God acts towards you and how He feels towards you. In our search for God, we can mistakenly attach ourselves to the environment that we meet God in instead of attaching ourselves to the truth of who God (Father, Son & Holy Spirit) is and the loving relationship that He wants to share with us. As a result, we can form opinions about moral or ethical decision making based on our family background, history or church upbringing.
With all that in mind, let’s tackle this elephant!
Getting right to the point, regardless of the motive or intent behind the chastising member’s comments, the bottom line is that she made a judgment about the other church member drinking wine with dinner and decided to share her opinion. The end result, hurt feels, questions, and offenses taken up by other people.
There are two types of judgment:
The first is based on scripture – John 7:24 (KJV) “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” For example, I can tell you that murder is wrong because, God says it is wrong.
The second kind of judgment is formed by my opinion of a situation.
I love Dr. Jim Richard’s definition of judgment:
Judgment is assuming to know why someone did what they did or said what they said.
When we make assumptions based on a fact or statement, it become judgment.
Trying to figure out why it happened or creating the storyline, plot or motive for the situation, only leads to strongholds, offenses and broken relationships.
So before we throw the chastising church member under the bus, let me give you a personal example of how judgment can sneak into our lives. When I read this week’s Tuesday Talk question, my mind immediately tried to answer the question – WHY would this church member chastise another church member for having a glass of wine with dinner?
Does she feel drinking is a sin? Is she concerned for the church member’s health? Or maybe the chastising church member is a recovering alcoholic and the temptation of watching friends drink is too much for her to bare.
What about love, I thought? What about the golden rule? What about treating each other like Jesus treats us? What about all the scriptures that teach about judging others…
James 2:4 says, “Judgments are guided by evil motives.”
Jesus told us specifically not to judge hypocritically (Matthew 7:1). None of us are perfect, therefore, if we judge, we are being hypocrites.
Obviously the chastising member didn’t remember Matthew 7:2-5, “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Again, Jesus was condemning hypocritical, self-righteous judgments of others.
All of these conclusions are assumptions I made about one statement that led me to become defensive for the woman who was being chastised for drinking a glass of wine with dinner.
Forgive me, Jesus!
We were all created as a masterpiece of God. The ultimate goal of our sisterhood and brotherhood in Christ is to live in a fellowship of honest and loving words of encouragement towards one another. If one of my sisters or brothers falls down, it is my job to pick them up, not kick them in the gut while they lie there bleeding. If she is burdened or troubled, it is my place to carry her burdens, not give her an extra sack filled with judgment. We were made to be one in Spirit and in Body prayerfully lifting each other to high ground. (Matthew 18:15-17; James 5:20; Ephesians 4:15)
2) The Question: Is it morally right for Christians to drink?
Since Tuesday Talk is about conversation, dialogue and reflection, I would like to invite your voice to answer this question.
Here are two articles you may find helpful as you navigate the world of church and alcohol.
How Christians View Alcohol, an interview with Brett McCracken, author of Gray Matters: Navigating the Space Between Legalism and Liberty.