Anyone who knows me knows that I have a favorite watering hole. It’s a local bar and restaurant that I so lovingly refer to as my “Cheers.” People there know my name. They let me plug my laptop into their power source, and when I ask for “old faithful” to drink, they know I want a Young’s Double Chocolate Stout. I often stop there to grab a bite to eat and sip on a beer after work while I do some homework or some reading. I love it there.
But alas, I think I may need to take a break from the place. You see, there is someone who works there that is struggling with addiction right now. We chatted the other day. Sobriety was going well for awhile, but then, as it often is with addiction, things weren’t good anymore. So while we chatted about addiction, and how well I understand (mine happens to be food, not alcohol…) I suggested another place of employment or rehab. We just had a nice conversation, chatted about the Bible, and I said a prayer. I suggested 1 Corinthians.
My favorite verse happens to be 1 Corinthians 10:13 –
13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
After our conversation, I came home and read the whole book. In doing so I came across 1 Corinthians 8: 9, 13 –
9 But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble.
13 So if what I eat causes another believer to sin, I will never eat meat again as long as I live—for I don’t want to cause another believer to stumble.
It hit me that I could be contributing to another’s addiction by enjoying a drink, to which I’m not addicted, in the presence of the one who is addicted. It’s easy to be careful about what I when I’m at home – I would never invite an alcoholic to a party where there’s alcohol – but I guess I never thought about it in this context. By going to this bar I could be setting a bad example for my friend, and that really bothered me.
Romans also talks about this:
Romans 14:13 – 21
13 Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. 14 I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. 15 For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died.16 So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.
20 Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. 21 It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.
Now, I know that it would be virtually impossible to do ANYTHING if you always had to worry about the way it was affecting others, and I don’t think that’s what the Bible means. However, if you know someone is struggling, and you continue to act in a way that could cause him or her to stumble, then it is important to take a step back and reassess what you are doing. So here we are.
Methinks I will be taking a break from my “Cheers” for awhile. I’ll know, then, that I am not contributing to a friend’s problem, and perhaps even set a good example. Perhaps, in time, my friend will move on to another job, which would undoubtedly help the issue. Perhaps not, but either way, I will be making a conscious effort not to contribute to another’s addiction.
Have you ever changed something you were doing, just so it might help another? Comment below.
Prayer: Lord, please help me see what it is I might be doing that could be negatively affecting someone else. Help me find a way to change my heart and my actions so that I can be a positive light for someone, not a stumbling block. Amen.