Offenses are like termites. They creep in a little at a time and slowly eat their way from the inside out until entire structures are destroyed. They usually go unnoticed until the damage has spread too far. We don’t tend to them in a hurry because we don’t see how a tiny insect could be that big of a deal. After all, there are much bigger priorities like establishing our daily devotions, learning to worship with abandon, leading a small group, teaching a kids class. We spend time working on the outside of the structure while the inside is rotting away. Eventually our outside repairs will be unrecognizable in the pile of rubble left behind by our offenses.

“Alcohol.” A simple word that’s breeding countless termites in the church. I can’t help but imagine satan laughing in pure delight over his well-crafted distraction. At what point did Beer, a beverage created with the purpose of celebrating Gods faithfulness, become a legitimate reason to leave a church family? I’ve heard this argument, “It’s not about us and our enjoyments, it’s about setting an example for the world.” Is it possible that the costliest example leaving a trail of dead today is the example of Disunity? While many in the church are focused on the hell-bent power of the pint, it seems the world is more focused on our inability to get over it. For centuries, scriptures have been hurled from both sides of the alcohol battle. Some call beer an abomination, others call it the blessing of God, yet both sides seem to call Jesus, the Son of God who died on a cross for the sins of mankind. Would we trade our differences over a drink for our common bond of reaching the world for Jesus?

Who is more righteous, the Christian with a Heineken in his hand or the Christian without? We read in the Bible that our righteousness on it’s best day is like filthy rags, the biblical equivalent of dirty tampons (Isaiah 64:6). What then is our life telling the world about Jesus? If the salvation of the world depends on whether or not we drink beer or have tattoos, then it would have been more beneficial for Jesus to have lived a long life of great works than an early death on a cross. We are made righteous because Jesus died, not because we say no to alcohol.

The other side of the argument comes from a church culture insinuating that a Christian has somehow attained more righteousness by drinking alcohol because they have ‘Freedom.’ This is even more of an affront to the gospel than the previous position. If God convicts you of drinking alcohol then you would absolutely be in sin to drink it. If you judge someone because God is convicting them of drinking alcohol then you are in sin to judge them. Freedom is the opposite of Bondage. To make a fellow believer feel they are somehow not free because they are convicted not to drink is an attempt to put them in bondage. In the same way, for you who are convicted not to drink to judge those who do not share that conviction is an attempt to put them in bondage. Alcohol is NOT the issue. Enslaving others who Christ has set free is the issue.

Simply put, we should major on what God majored on and minor on what God minored on. God majored on unity and minored on alcohol. Today we have it terribly backwards, we are majoring on ‘the alcohol issue’ and other divisive distractions that are letting offensive termites into the house of God in droves. All the while we minor drastically on unity, forgiveness, and love. Let’s get busy serving in the family of God and loving each other so the world can see that example (John 13:35).