OceanSide church of Christ
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LET’S HAVE A BEER
Victor M. Eskew
“Simply put, beer is fermented; hop flavored, malt sugared liquid” (alabev.come). The basic ingredients in beer are water, malt, hops, and yeast. It is the malting process that produces the ethyl alcohol in beer. In a list from realbeer.com, most beers have an alcohol content level of between 5% to 7%. The mildest is Kipling Light Lager containing 3.4%. Sam Adams Utopias MMII is the most potent containing 24%.
Alcohol is a very common drink throughout the world. It is a common drink among high school and college students in the United States. It is not uncommon for a young person to be invited out for a drink. The invitation might come with these words: “Let’s have a beer.” The invitation seems congenial. Surely just a beer or two will not bring any harm, or, will it? Let’s examine some of the consequences that having a few beers might bring.
LET’S HAVE A BEER and ruin our reputation. Proverbs 22:1 tells us that “a good name is rather to be chosen than great riches…” A good name involves one’s reputation and character. A good name is built piece by piece over a long period of time. However, it only takes one bad incident to mar that good name. Judas betrayed the Lord with a kiss. Forevermore his name will be associated with being a traitor. A Christian is known for his holy character (I Pet. 1:15-16). His is one who refuses to be conformed to this world (Rom. 12:2; I John 2:15). When one hears that a Christian drinks beer, his/her reputation is marred. His good name is now associated with the devil’s brew.
LET’S HAVE A BEER and get involved with sin. Most people see nothing wrong with having a beer or two. Very few would associate beer drinking with sin. Individuals only connect sin with drunkenness. What is overlooked is the fact that drunkenness is a process. It is not a point one reaches with the consumption of a certain amount of alcohol. The very first drink begins the process of drunkenness. After the first beer, a person is one beer drunk. With this in mind, we better understand the words of the wise man in Proverbs 23:31: “Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his color in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.” The inspired admonition is to not even look at alcoholic beverages. This is much sager advice than beginning the process of drunkenness with the first drink.
LET’S HAVE A BEER and risk harming innocent people. There have been many beer drinkers who have hurt and killed innocent victims in their automobiles. The evening began with a few beers with the boys. The drive home turned homicidal. The beer took its toll on the person’s judgment and reaction time. He swerved in the road. He failed to stop at the red light. He was traveling too fast on a back road. His negligence caused a horrific car accident. A mother was killed. A small child was maimed for life. A teenager now lies as a vegetable in a hospital bed. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 42,642 people died in traffic crashes in 2006 in the United States. 41% of those deaths involved alcohol. That totals to 17, 602 people, about one person every thirty minutes. Who would want to be responsible for hurting another, much less killing him?
LET’S HAVE A BEER and bring suffering to at least five other lives. In an article entitled, “Number of Alcoholics: Alcoholism and Other Drug Problems,” James E. Royce and David Scratchley make this observation:
Alcohol causes more than alcoholism. If each alcoholic affects the lives of four or five others “spouse, children, employer, employee, innocent victim of accident, or other” then our 12.2 million alcoholics have an impact on 40 to 50 million others for a total of about 60 million citizens. The president of a state association of judges stated that “90 to 95 percent of all the cases that come before my bench” civil, criminal, and family, “involve alcohol.” Alcohol may not be the sole cause, but is a part-cause in much juvenile delinquency, illegitimate pregnancy, truancy, and fights. Numerous reports indicate that about 73 percent of felonies are alcohol-related. A survey of the literature shows that in about 67 percent of child-beating cases, 41 percent of forcible rape cases, 80 percent of wife-battering, 72 percent of stabbings, and 83 percent of homicides, either the attacker or the victim or both had been drinking. Hard to research, incest is now coming out in the open; one report estimates as high as 90 percent of incest may be alcohol-related (Murphy, 1992). As high as 45 percent of our social welfare aid in categories like Aid to Dependent Children, and 60% of “mental cruelty” divorce cases, have been estimated as associated with alcohol and other drugs, which is the primary complaint in one-third of all broken marriages (see Parker and Rebhun, 1995, Pernanen, 1991).
Most of the people in the list are supposed to be people the drinker loves. Is it love, if he brings this type of suffering to their lives?
LET’S HAVE A BEER and hurt our health. Some people like to tout the “health benefits” that come from alcohol. The reality, however, is that alcohol brings much more harm than good. On the website, alcoholismresources.com, the following health problems are listed as a result of alcoholism or even mild overuse over time: heart disease, high blood pressure, liver disease, impotence, nerve and brain damage, sleep problems, cancer, and damage to the stomach and kidneys. When these problems finally show up, it is too late to change some of them. One must live with the frustration, the pain, and the cost of these preventable health issues for the remainder of one’s life. In addition to these long term problems, more immediate health problems are also associated with drinking. Solomon referred to these in Proverbs 23:29-30. “Who hath woe? Who hath sorrow? Who hath contentions? Who hath babblings? Who hath wounds without cause? Who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine: they that go to seek mixed wine” (emp. mine, vme). Hospital emergency rooms and emergency clinics are filled with people who have cuts, scrapes, bruises, and broken limbs due to alcohol related injuries. With these facts before us, does it seem logical to say that one should drink alcohol for good health? Hardly!
LET’S HAVE A BEER and get addicted to alcohol. The estimates are that 1 out of every 10 Americans is addicted to alcohol. Once one is addicted, his life becomes very difficult. Problems develop in many areas of life including home and work. The alcoholic longs to quit, but he cannot. He has become a slave to liquor. The best way to find out if one will become an alcoholic is to take the first drink. But, is the one in ten risk worthy that first sip? NOTE: All those who refuse to take the first drink never become alcoholics.
LET’S HAVE A BEER and lose our spiritual appetite. This writer has never come across an individual who drinks, even moderately, who has a deep passion for spiritual things. Those who drink are not regular attendees. They are not diligent Bible students. They do not have a fervent prayer life. They struggle with other temptations and sin. Dear readers, the spirits of alcohol and the Spirit of God just do not mix. Paul wrote: “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18). Alcohol and faithful Christian living are incompatible. Christian living involves soberness of mind (Tit. 2:2, 4, 6; I Pet. 5:8). Even a small amount of alcohol takes its toll on sober thinking. Those who drink need to ask themselves: Do I want to be a loyal, faithful, dedicated, knowledgeable Christian? If so, you will not accomplish the task by pouring down the booze.
LET’S HAVE A BEER sounds so innocent and so inviting. The consequences of that beer can spread deep and wide. We have examined seven consequences in the preceding paragraphs. One last consequence involves things eternal, the loss of one’s soul. If the evils associated with drinking come to pass, and they will, the drinker will lose his soul. Our hope is that the one who is asked to go have a beer will see that it is really Satan making the invitation. In response, we pray that the one invited will do as Peter admonishes: “Whom resist stedfast in the faith…” (I Pet. 5:9).