AN AMAZING FACT: An alcohol-related problem affects one in every four U.S. homes.
The uncontrollable desire for alcohol consumes about 14 million Americans. About 47 percent of industrial injuries and 40 percent of industrial fatalities are linked to alcohol consumption. Drinking also can increase violent behavior and accounts for 49 percent of murders, 52 percent of rapes, 21 percent of suicides, and 60 percent of child abuse cases. Of course, of all fatal accidents on the roads, over 50 percent involve alcohol.
Staggeringly, more than 50 percent of the people who are in prisons, hospitals, and mental institutions are there because of crime, illness, and birth defects related to alcohol. A wise Christian should have nothing to do with this drug.
There are basically four elements that indicate a person is struggling with alcohol. First, there is a strong craving to drink. Next, there is a loss of control to stop drinking once a person has begun. Then there is a physical dependence on alcohol, causing withdrawal symptoms that can be relieved by another drink. Finally, there is the issue of tolerance—the need to drink increasing amounts of alcohol to get a “high.”
Proverbs accurately describes the harmful effects of drinking alcohol. It warns that alcohol “bites like a serpent, and stings like a viper” (Proverbs 23:31, 32). Like all the destructive temptations of Satan, drinking liquor is portrayed as cool and smart and something that the beautiful do. But it is foolish and ugly. It not only destroys our capacity to think and act wisely, it harms those around us.
It’s not just the book of Proverbs that warns us regarding the evil consequences of alcohol: “Do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). And, “Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may follow intoxicating drink; who continue until night, till wine inflames them!” (Isaiah 5:11). Biblical wisdom teaches us to firmly avoid alcohol. If you or a loved one has been in the grips of drinking, admit the problem and get help. God wants you to be free from the serpent’s bite.
Additional reading: Proverbs 23:17–35
KEY BIBLE TEXTS
Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Proverbs 23:29-30