Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Confusing Messages

There are a number of confusing messages being widely propagated in the world today. Many of these are promoted by well-meaning people who apparently have not considered the logical consequences of their messages. Let’s consider some of these messages.

Drink responsibly. Is this possible? One loses his sense of responsibility when he drinks. Yet, this is the message regularly given in advertisements. By suggesting that a person drink moderately, you are still recommending him to drink. A far wiser counsel is found in the book of Proverbs when it speaks of the affects of alcoholic beverage: At the last it bites like a serpent and stings like a viper” (Prov. 23:32). A person should make every effort to avoid any amount alcoholic beverages. How can a person be demonstrating responsibility when he is purposely consuming a beverage specifically designed to rob him of his good sense?

Here is another confusing message: Don’t drink and drive. This slogan is widely heard during the holiday season, the high school prom, and other similar events. It serves as a reminder that due to a person’s drinking he loses his alertness and places himself and others in danger if he gets behind the wheel of an automobile. A “designated driver” is recommended; that is, someone who has refrained from becoming inebriated in order to drive the others home. Does this mean that it is okay to drink as long as someone has been designated as the driver for you? That is confusing, because the consumption of alcoholic beverage is just as injurious to one’s health as it is to one’s alertness. In fact, there are spiritual concerns as well. The apostle Paul said that drunkards will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9-10).

Another confusing message is this one: Don’t drink or smoke if you are underage. Are we suggesting that while this is forbidden behavior for minors, it is okay for adults? The truth of the matter is that drinking and smoking are not safe for children or adults. They cause serious health issues. What kind of message is an adult sending to a child when the adult who drinks or smokes tries to correct the child engaging in these same harmful activities? Jesus describes such behavior as hypocrisy and urges us “…to take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Mt. 7:5). In other words, he is saying that we should straighten out our lives in order to be the proper example to others.

Another slogan that is very confusing is this: Practice safe sex. This slogan became prominent when AIDS became a widespread problem in the 1980’s. Parents and schools alike began teaching children to practice “safe sex.” However, if one practices “safe sex,” he must practice sex. Sexual promiscuity not only has physical dangers associated with it; but has emotional and psychological difficulties, also. The only true way to remain safe from sexually transmitted diseases and psychological disorders associated with immorality is to abstain from it. God knew exactly what he was doing when, through the apostle Paul, he instructed, “Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body” (1 Cor. 6:18). Safe sex involves the unmarried abstaining from immoral behavior and those who are married remaining faithful to one another.

Truly, some familiar slogans are confusing when honestly analyzed. The good news is that the gospel of Christ is not confusing.

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