I saw it coming. I tuned in for years, and kept telling myself, “Doesn’t this person see that her children are watching what she is doing?”
As I sat working on my computer, my mother approached me with a Facebook post about a Food Network star’s daughter, whom authorities arrested for public intoxication.
I pulled up the online details of the arrest, which confirmed that the police found the young woman in a drunken state walking in public. Sources also reported that the 19 year-old possessed alcohol, including an opened container of beer in the car. Although beer is a lesser form of liquor, the officers charged her with an additional felony. All three counts generated a penalty of $400, in exchange for an expunged record (which is a blog for another day).
At the bottom of the article, I found general statements by readers, “There’s nothing to see here” or “I’ve done the same thing” or “The press is just trying to embarrass her mother,” and other like remarks. Not one person noted her unlawful act, her supposed religiosity, or her family’s example of alcohol use. Instead, society chimed in with their own experiences and attempted to ease their conscience by leveling the playing field.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to insinuate that the celebrity chef and her family and friends are alcoholics, or that they live in debauchery—or even that they are unbelievers. I don’t know them personally, so I cannot vouch for anything of that sort.
However, I am saying that there’s a more significant argument here than a sip of wine or a Blue Hawaiian—whatever that is. It’s about our influence on weaker Christians who observe our lifestyles in person or follow us on Social Media.
Luke 17:2 says, “It would be better to be thrown into the sea with a millstone hung around your neck than to cause one of these little ones to fall into sin.” According to the 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language, a “little one” or child may refer to one who is weak in knowledge, experience, judgment, or someone young in grace, unfixed in principles.
Furthermore, First Corinthians 8:9, 12 says, “But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. So by sinning against the brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ.”
So, picture this, a person who has spent a considerable amount of time struggling with drinking, drugs, premarital sex, and even dabbling in illegal practices (i.e., cheating on their taxes, stealing, etc.), becomes a believer. The new Christian finds hope and forgiveness with God. They now desire to shed their old life and learn to live righteously. Yet, they continue to fight temptation, and their old habits are calling them to return. Then, they see a Christian at a restaurant sipping a Martini (or smoking legalized marijuana, or making out with a boyfriend/girlfriend, or posting inappropriate photos on social media…etc.), and suddenly, their conscience eases, and their old sinful nature finds an excuse to go back to their former ways. “Hey, if Mary can sip a Martini, and still be a Christian, why can’t I?” Although Mary does not get drunk, her Martini has opened a doorway for Satan to use, and cause the weak believer to stumble in their walk with Christ.
John Owen once said, “It is not enough that we are just, that we be righteous, and walk with God in holiness; but we must also serve our generation. God has a work to do, and not to help Him is to oppose Him.”
Remember, we ARE our brother’s keeper. So, next time you lift that electronic cigarette, a glass of wine, or add or delete a few dollars on your taxes, beware, there are people around you who will gain strength by your example, or they will accept the key you hand them to return through the door of hopelessness. Therefore, think twice before sipping that glass of wine, it’s far better to return it to its bottle than prepare to drown in the “Sea of Stumbling”.