Adapting…Drinking and Smoking

I’ve saved this issue of drinking and smoking for the last. It seems to be the biggest change in our church rules.

From my earliest recollections I was taught and so believed drinking and smoking were absolute sins. They fell into the same category as playing cards! At the same time I was taught, thankfully, to love the sinner but not the sin. Many of my relatives both drank and smoked.

Many of our friends today, in our church, drink wine. Some drink beer. I still have a hard time with it because of my growing up years. 

I will admit to a secret desire of mine: to have a glass of wine with dinner and friends. I’ve never done it though.

I’ll also admit to a time when I was a teenager when I had a chance to taste an alcoholic drink and so I did! One sip…it was the most horrible tasting stuff I’d ever tasted. That cured me. I never tried drinking again! I have no idea what that was.

I have to admit I also tried smoking a cigarette when I was a teenager. As I inhaled and my lungs filled with smoke I regretted that I had even tried it. I thought of how black my lungs were and that they’d never be clear again. When I got home, who should be in our living room but, my Sunday School teacher!!! I ran upstairs to the bathroom and brushed my teeth and rinsed my mouth as best I could, hoping to get rid of any smoking odor.

Before I go any farther, let me say, smoking is bad for one’s health so it’s still a no no. I’m so glad of that.

Jerry’s dad died of cancer when Jerry (my husband) was only 15 years old. It was a long painful ordeal and he was at home most of the time, he even died at home. For a 15 year old boy it was devastating. Jerry made up his mind he would never smoke and he never has.

But drinking socially seems to be okay now. My church has relaxed it’s rules. How do I tell my mind and my heart that it’s okay? Maybe I’m too old!

Here is a statement I can’t dismiss: Every alcoholic started with one drink! No exceptions!

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About allinadayofme

I can't believe I'm in old age! I'm more than halfway through my seventies! I'm a child of God, wife to one, mother to five, grandmother to 15 plus two granddaughters-in-law! I'm a sister, aunt, cousin, friend and neighbor. I'm a housewife and former ESL tutor. I love reading and writing. I write and am the editor of a newsletter, Primetime, bi-weekly, for seniors. I love genealogy, traveling, birds and animals, blogging and taking pictures.
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10 Responses to Adapting…Drinking and Smoking

  1. Dorothy Tanner says:

    Anita, The word wine in the Bible was used for both alcoholic wine and grape juice. I am surprised that the Free Methodist now do not stand against it. The way I look at it is that we influence those around us and they may become addicted. If it is ok for grandma it is ok for me.

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    • Thanks Dorothy, I have a ’95 Book of Discipline and it still rules against drinking alcohol. But I think the rule has been relaxed in the last few years. I want a later Discipline. I’ve got to find one…!

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  2. Ruth says:

    I’m with you Anita. All it takes is one alcoholic in the family line to know that the thrill of having a drink is not worth the cost it may inflict upon a family. I’ve never had a drop. It’s how I grew up, it hasn’t been hard. The way I hear people talk about wine they make it sound like I’m missing something amazing…but it’s not anything I really crave. Curious about maybe…but not necessary. My husband grew up in a home with an alcoholic dad. He stopped when Mark was in 8th grade but the effects made both Mark and I decide not ever having a drop was a smart decision. Plus…my girls…the risk of having it in our home and one of them having a problem is not worth the curiosity. I know it’s old fashioned and I don’t care if somebody else does it. It’s not really a sin. It’ more just a personal choice of how I’ve chosen to put some guard rails on my life. In the same way that I drive safe and try to eat healthy. The way I try to live within a budget and make good choices. We never know who can handle it and who can’t…just seems easier to forgo it. (Just my opinion)

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  3. Zoanne Clark says:

    I agree with you Anita….I know it’s about a relationship with Jesus not the rules, but when you are raised that way it is hard to “change” on this front. I have dealt with the after math of alcohol in families. So we choose to abide by the rule no alcohol with the reasoning being we don’t want to be a stumbling block for someone with a problem.

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  4. Cynthia Reed says:

    Dear Anita, This is an issue that has been troublesome to me as well. I didn’t drink or smoke in high school, but once I got to college and it seemed EVERYONE was drinking, I decided to check with my pastor to see if it was okay to drink “socially”. He said the Bible did not prohibit drinking per se and that as long as I didn’t use it as a crutch, it was not a sin. What I found, however, was that it lessened my zeal for God and that the people who were my friends, while good people, were not following hard after God. The experience taught me lessons that I feel I needed to learn…especially in the area of “self righteousness”, which I feel I was somewhat in high school, though unconsciously. Nonetheless, it took a toll on my spiritual life, and it is not something I feel really free to participate in today. I have many dear Christian friends who drink and I trust them to sense God’s direction in this. They have wonderful hearts and are effective servants of God. Romans 14 can easily apply to drinking I think. Some feel the freedom and they shouldn’t judge those who abstain, likewise, those who abstain shouldn’t judge those who drink. Yet those who drink should consider how it could possibly affect others. Romans 14:21 “It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.” I will say that MANY young people in our church have struggled with substance abuse and I just wish that alcohol didn’t look so attractive to them. Just to hear some other perspectives on this, I think you might find a couple of sermons worthwhile. Jack Graham “Surveillance and Security” (Proverbs) and “Total Abstinence”. Also Adrian Rogers “Total Abstinence”. These can be listened to on their websites…Power Point and Love Worth Finding. The greatest danger we face I think is to be self righteous…yet the church must never cease to be “salt and light”. Thank you Anita for your transparency and for not being afraid to address issues that we all need to seek God’s direction on. I just pray that God will show us the way and that we (as His church) will be motivated from a heart of love to not let anything divide us or keep us from seeking first His kingdom. Love to you, Cynthia

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  5. Jim Bosworth says:

    My wife showed me this thread and I just have to add my two cents worth.

    My first step-father (a mistake my mother admits that she made out of desperation) was a drunk. You generally don’t remember much from when you were 6 years old, but I still remember in detail when I got up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. I padded there in my “jammies” and realized as soon as I entered the room that something was wrong but I didn’t realize what. Once I had woke up enough, the problem became all too clear. My step-father had come home drunk and barfed all over the bathroom floor and bath tub – so I was literally wading in his vomit.

    I’ve done 4 years in the U.S. Navy (including a year in Viet Nam) and 31 years as an hourly employee of General Motors, and in all that time I’ve never even had an urge to drink – because of what I was taught in church and that late night visit to the bathroom. Even the smell of alcohol makes me sick to my stomach. And I really wish the Free Methodist church had not changed it’s stand on drinking, because I know from experience what even one drink can do to a person; how it can mess up their judgement.

    Our church had it right to begin with – it’s too bad they have chosen to compromise.

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    • Thanks for commenting, Jim. I appreciate your input. I’m impressed that you took a stand, especially in the Navy, against drinking. I’m going to look into this further and I’ll let you know what I find out! 🙂

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