I suspect this entry will raise some eyebrows, especially since I come from the Bible belt where my culture is conservative.
First, allow me to give the disclaimer: : I am not advocating nor giving you permission to do any of the items that I mention in this article. I cannot make choices for you, God doesn’t even do that. I’ll write and you make your own decisions based on the knowledge you have and your own personal convictions.
Let me also clarify this entry by letting you know that your culture and geological location has a great influence on your belief system. Your views on the following subjects depend greatly upon where you live; what Country, what State, the North, South, East or West, or even what city or part of a city you live in. Many people who go to church or call themselves Christians actually have a very radical and sometimes, extreme, belief system. In our culture in the south, many Christians are taught not to drink, smoke, gamble, or even to dance. There are also a few extra legalistic teachings floating around some churches, such as not wearing make-up, women must wear dresses, and in some places women aren’t allowed to speak in public church services.
Now Let me ask you a few questions: Is it a sin to drink? Is it a sin to smoke? Is it a sin to gamble? Is it a sin to dance?
Let me add a couple of more questions to the above list: Is it a sin to watch tv? Is it a sin to eat?
Most of us would answer yes to at least one of the above questions.
Let me give you some simple anecdotes for gaging whether or not something is a sin:
-Do you control it, or does is control you?
-Do you do it in excess?
-What does the Bible actually say about it?
-Does it bother your conscience(or the Holy Spirit) when you do it?
-Have you prayed about it?
Now please do NOT get me wrong and tell me that I am advocating all or any of the above activities, I am not. I just want you to think about yourself, not others right now. Think about where you live and what you believe. Why do you believe the things you do? Is it in the Bible? Was it taught to you by your family, friends, or even your church?
Is it something you have always done? Perhaps motivated by tradition or from religious customs.
I want to submit to you that I say that I am not religious, yet I do religious activities every week. (The Bible doesn’t give us a step by step program for activities in a church service for example) Religion is simply mans way of trying to get to God. It is not entirely wrong but God desires a relationship, he is not looking for a religious person proclaiming to be a Christian. There is a difference.
Let me ask you a few more questions:
Which is worse, Drinking a glass of wine once a week or over-eating compulsively?
Is gluttony any less of a sin than drunkenness?
If a person goes to a casino once a year and gambles is that worse than watching 3 hours of television daily?
Hey I am not endorsing anything, And I am not giving you permission to do anything, I just want you to think.
Is it wrong to go to a ball and dance, Is it wrong to dance in church?
Yes, there is a difference. Dancing has been distorted by the world. But I am not going there now. I can’t dance anyways, I am a white male:) I just want you to think about the motivations behind your beliefs.
Here’s one more question:
Is it worse to smoke or to be a fat, lazy inactive person?
I guess you could see my thoughts on the subject embedded in my question. I don’t smoke, but I am not a slob either.
Most Christians say that it is wrong to Drink alcohol, smoke, gamble and dance. However they do not think that it is wrong to overeat or to watch the television all day long.
Let me say this about eating, Eating is a necessity. It is the only thing that we have mentioned that must be done. If you don’t eat, you die.
That said, overeating could also be a vice, just as drinking, smoking, gambling , sex, & television can be a vice. If you do it in excess then it is probably controlling you. If it controls you, it is your God.
There is a word that I like very much; it is called “balance”. I do not like judgmental Christians. I agree with Jesus Christ on his disdain for the Religious pharisees.
Let me give you some other thoughts on balance:
-Jesus tells us not to cause anyone to stumble by our actions. So if someone sees me drinking then they could possibly think to themselves, It is ok. However, I my drink every once in a while and they may turn into an alcoholic. So I don’t drink,; At least not in public.
– If we feel convicted because of our actions, we shouldn’t do it. But why do we feel convicted because we drink and we do not feel convicted when we overeat or live to be entertained?
If smoking bothers your conscience or offends you but does not bother your neighbors conscience, Is it a sin for your neighbor to smoke?
Let me sum up for now because this is a sensitive subject, especially among Christian and we could be here for quite a while.I guess If I really just followed his admonition to Love God with all that is within me and to love others as myself, I wouldn’t struggle so much with the above activities that could all be turned into a vice, and I most likely would not be very legalistic or judgmental towards others.