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Alcohol and feeling lonely as a Christian


Hi, I’m just wondering about what the Bible says about drinking alcohol? I’m 15 and most of the people in my class drink. Two of my friends in the class don’t drink, but my best friend and some of my other friends have chosen to drink. I don’t want to drink, and I don’t want to be like all the others. But I want to know if it’s wrong, or a bad idea to drink, especially when you’re a Christian? I know it’s best to be on the safe side and not drink at all, but on the other hand I know Christians who drink. I get so confused!

Another thing is that I often feel as if I’m the only Christian in my group of friends, and it’s hard to avoid gossiping. I know it’s wrong, and sometimes I can stop them doing it by saying that we shouldn’t gossip, or by simply saying ‘I don’t want to talk about this!’ But it’s not always that simple, and sometimes I just stay silent. Is this as bad as actively gossiping?

I also think it’s very difficult to talk about my feelings. No one (apart from God, of course), knows how I feel. I always hear how others are doing, but I don’t know what they expect me to answer. I try to encourage them, and help them, but it’s not that easy if they’re all going through a hard time at the same time! I don’t have the energy to help others all the time, as I myself can go through tough times. I need someone I can really trust, a Christian friend, but that’s even more difficult. My best friend is really struggling and has totally lost her relationship to God. The fact that all of my friends are moving away from God is really difficult for me. I want what God has for me, not what the world has. I want to be the person God wants me to be, not what the world wants. Next year I start a new school, and there are hardly any Christians there. I really want a new best friend, even if they’re not a Christian. I’m so fed up being alone.

I read the Bible, but I’m not sure where I should read. Wow, this has turned into a real letter! I’ve got so much more I could write, and more questions too, but I don’t have enough space.



Svar 3/1/2021

Hi,

You’re thinking through things very wisely, and I would really have liked you to have an adult you could share these thoughts with. You have a lot of questions and it’s hard to answer them properly in a forum like this.

Firstly I want to say that if you don’t want to drink, then don’t do it. It’s very important that you stick to your own boundaries and decide for yourself what kind of limits you set. You’re very brave to stand against the temptation to be like everyone else. As the proverb says, ‘it’s only dead fish that go with the flow’! Fish that are alive are always trying to swim upstream, against the flow.

Other people will respect you and your values if you dare to stand up for what you believe, but you also have to be ready to stand up to their opinions.

Many years ago it was very uncommon for Christians to drink. These days, however, some Christians choose to drink, and some choose not to. It doesn’t say in the Bible that it is sin to drink, but at the same time the Bible is very clear about the fact that it is a sin to get drunk

‘Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit …’ Ephesians 5:18.

Alcohol is actually a poison that affects the central nervous system. It changes your mood, reduces your self-control and sense of judgement, and increases impulsive and risk-taking behaviour. It also leads to memory loss and a reduced sense of awareness. Alcohol is very damaging to our society, as it impacts individuals, families and their surroundings, and is in fact our biggest socio-medical problem.

We should view alcohol not only in selfish terms of what is best for me, but in holistic terms of what is best for me, my family, people around me and society. My choices have an impact on others, and because of this, moderate drinking can actually be the biggest problem. It is easy to distance yourself from drunkenness, but then people who drink in moderation are seen as good role models. However, the phrase ‘in moderation’ is rather worthless as different people interpret it in different ways. For some people, ‘in moderation’ means a lager on a Friday evening, or two glasses of red wine. Other people would interpret the same phrase as meaning drinking a lot during the weekend, but not during the week.

The apostle Paul challenges us to be good examples for others. We’re actually examples all the time, whether we want to be or not (Titus 2:6–7). That’s why we need lots more sober people on the streets! We need more people who order a Coke, thus making it easier for other people to resist the pressure to drink. Our drinking habits have an impact on other people. It would be great if we could have a young generation who would make it less normal to drink alcohol.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: Is it OK for a Christian to drink wine? and Set your own limits

And now to your other topic: gossiping. It’s great that you don’t want to gossip. However, it’s not always so easy to stop others, and you can’t choose what they do. It’s super that you try to move the conversation onto positive topics, and maybe later on you’ll influence your friends positively, just by being who you are. Maybe you should talk about it with your friends, tell them that speaking negatively about others affects both themselves and the people around them. Whatever happens, don’t take responsibility for what other people choose to do, but stand firm and be who you want to be; by doing this you will be a good example.

In the Bible it says that ‘Those who guard their lips preserve their lives’, and that ‘whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.’ (See Proverbs 4:24, 11:25 and 13:3). 

‘Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it’ (Psalm 34:12–14).

It's a pity that you don’t have someone you can talk to privately about your thoughts and feelings, and that you don’t have any Christian friends who can support you. It can be quite lonely for you if there’s no church or Christian youth group where you live. Maybe you can get to know someone on the internet, or go to a camp or apply for a Christian school? You should try to find an adult who you can trust and who can give you advice. It is certainly not good for you to be alone like this.

It may be a good idea to get hold of some devotional books, and other Christian books that can encourage you. You can find lots of uplifting books for teenagers on amazon.co.uk or amazon.com

And of course, read the Bible! Start in the New Testament, read the Gospels first, and then keep reading! Ask God to speak to you through His Word, and you’ll notice that He fills you with strength, joy and courage. God’s Word is powerful and alive, and impacts you even when you don’t understand everything. It’s life-giving! (See Proverbs 4:20–22.)

God is for you and will lead and support you. Good luck!